- 21 Jul 21
The final guidelines for indoor dining were agreed between government officials, publicans and restaurateurs yesterday.
President Michael D Higgins has given the legislative green light for indoor dining to recommence on Monday, July 26th.
In a statement made on Wednesday morning, Áras an Uachtaráin said President Higgins had considered the Health (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2021 and that it had been signed into law.
With the legislation now in place, and a framework for guidelines agreed with the hospitality sector, the resumption of indoor dining for vaccinated members of the population can begin from next week.
President Michael D Higgins has signed into law the legislation that will allow indoor dining to be restricted to those who are vaccinated or recovered from Covid. Paves the way for re-opening of indoor hospitality next Monday
— Seán Defoe (@SeanDefoe) July 21, 2021
At the moment, there will be no time limits in place, but there are stricter rules for social distancing when unvaccinated children under plans to be considered by the Government today. A two-metre distance must be in place between tables with unvaccinated children, while a “significant update” is expected on ventilation guidelines, including the use of air flow, extraction systems and of CO2 monitors.
Under the plans, a previous time limit of 105 minutes for tables within one metre of each other will be scrapped – but an 11.30pm closing time will remain. This time will be reviewed at a later date.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said indoor dining would be restricted to table service only, with six people at a table and masks required. Pubs will use an app to scan QR codes of customers with digital Covid certificates, and service at the bar won't be allowed.
🍴 Six adults to a table
↔️ 2m between tables if kids present; 1m otherwise
🕰 No time limits; 11:30pm close
💨 CO2 monitors to check ventilation
🔐 Vax assessment at door; Govt developing app for QR scanning
📆 Intended to reopen Monday@VirginMediaNews
— Gavan Reilly (@gavreilly) July 20, 2021
Digital and paper certs will be accepted, while an app will be introduced for businesses to check customers’ vaccination status on entry. A requirement for photo ID may also be put in place
Officials are working out how enforcement will operate, with environmental health officers carrying out checks.
The Taoiseach and the Tánaiste both suggested that the further relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions, including allowing up to 100 people attend weddings, will be delayed.
“Operate on the basis it’s going to be 50”
Tanaiste @LeoVaradkar tells couples getting married in August to plan for 50 guests instead of 100.@VirginMediaNews #Covid19Ireland pic.twitter.com/OmKAbZeFhl
— Zara King (@ZaraKing) July 21, 2021
The relaxation was due to take place next month but Martin said a decision on the matter will be taken next week. Varadkar has encourage those holding weddings in August to “operate on the basis” that up to 50 people only will be attending.
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said yesterday that designing three stages of reopening indoor dining was the best way to reduce risk. Phase one will allow fully vaccinated people or a person who has recovered from Covid-19 dine to indoors, with children under 18 who are not vaccinated also permitted inside.
Phase two will see people allowed indoors if they can produce a negative PCR test, while phase three will see those with a negative antigen test allowed inside a pub or restaurant.
The guidelines state that customers who want to temporarily leave a pub or restaurant will have to be stamped or tagged, and must be checked upon return into the premises.
Meanwhile, musicians remain in the dark around the return of live performances and indoor gigs. The Music & Entertainment Business Assistance Scheme (MEBAS), will now close at 1pm on August 3rd, according to an announcement made by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media yesterday.
Opposition TDs have labelled the legislation underpinning the rules as “discriminatory”. Taoiseach Micheál Martin said parliament had passed the legislation and that “the process has to be fully respected”.
“Every setting now carries a risk with it in the context of the Delta variant itself and its transmissibility. So all of us individually have to redouble our efforts in terms of vigilance, in terms of basics that we learned at the outset of the pandemic,” Martin said.
He added that the vaccination programme was progressing “very effectively and powerfully”, referencing that the HSE’s vaccination portal today opened up to people aged 18-24.
#COVIDVaccine registration is open for people aged 18-24. You'll need a:
✉️email address to register.
Register here ➡️ https://t.co/nTNxEJWWWr
— HSE Ireland (@HSELive) July 21, 2021
“Notwithstanding that we do need to be very very vigilant over the coming weeks because the Delta variant is going to increase, we will have an increase in case numbers and we have got to try and keep that to a minimum. There are twists and turns in Covid and that is what a global pandemic does."
Tánaiste Varadkar said this wave of Covid-19 infections, driven by the Delta variant, would theoretically climb to around 3,000 to 4,000 per day. The current mortality rate is a tenth of that during the first wave of the pandemic in 2020. The current rate amounts to 10 deaths per 1,000 cases of Covid-19.