- 03 Dec 21
Minister Helen McEntee says Government will decide on need for any further restrictions later today.
Government will discuss fresh Christmas Covid-19 restrictions at a meeting this afternoon which would see a huge dent to the live music, nightlife and hospitality industries yet again.
The Covid-19 sub-committee met this morning, while the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) announced its recommendations yesterday evening. Reduced capacity in pubs and indoor hospitality, as well as limits on the number of households that can mix are all likely to be considered. The recommendations follow the emergence of the new Omicron variant in Ireland and around the world.
In a letter to the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, NPHET recommended a maximum of six people at a table in bars and restaurants and the closure of nightclubs until January 9th.
It is understood that, if approved by Cabinet, people may also be asked to restrict the number of households they mix with over Christmas with three households permitted to visit a fourth.
NPHET also recommended that the vaccination pass should be extended to “high risk” venues such as gyms and hotels “with appropriate exemptions as required”.
Furthermore, the use of Covid certs for allowing entry into a wider range of settings is also understood to be among the measures being discussed. Due to the potential of the new Omicron variant spreading quickly, it would reportedly be difficult for the Government not to impose any recommendations from the health advisory body.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath also met with representatives from the hospitality sector amid ongoing concerns over the impact of Covid-19 on business.
Industry representatives raised concerns over Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) being cut earlier this week and called for a comprehensive support package for the sector.
After the meeting, the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) said the discussions had been “positive and constructive”.
“While no decision was made at the meeting, Government has confirmed that hospitality businesses will be supported over the next number weeks due to recognition that business has substantially declined,” RAI chief executive Adrian Cummins said.
The Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) also described the talks as “constructive”.
“Government has committed to avoiding uncertainty about new restrictions continuing into the weekend, so we expect further developments later today,” the group said in a statement.
Govt discussing recommendations that would see:
🔴Max of four households mixing over Christmas (1 host, 3 visitors)
🔴 Indoor events cut to 50% capacity
🔴 Nightclubs closed
🔴 Max of 6 per table at hospitality and end of bar service@VirginMediaNewspic.twitter.com/fbHwz7ZSpb
— Richard Chambers (@newschambers) December 3, 2021