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Government sets strict regulations for indoor hospitality access; draft guidelines published

DUBLIN: A draft of the government’s guidelines for resuming indoor hospitality on Monday, July 26th, has been published. The new policy clarifies that those who enter pubs or restaurants are required to follow extremely strict procedures. The final regulations will be published on Sunday, according to Fáilte Ireland.

The EU Digital Covid Certificate (DCC) will be considered as an admission pass for entering a pub, restaurant, café, or food court. Other proofs of immunity will be included in regulations, along with the HSE Vaccination Record.

Indoor dining businesses should have a managed and supervised entry point with a queue management system. Admission should be controlled by personnel who have been instructed in the process.

Customers will be required to show photo identification as well as Proof of Immunity at the entry of a pub or restaurant. Children under the age of 18 are allowed to dine indoors with a permitted adult, but must present a photo ID to confirm their age.

Once it is confirmed that a customer has been vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 and provides confirmation of picture ID, he or she is deemed eligible for entry. Children under the age of 18 with a parent or guardian do not need Proof of Immunity.

All customers allowed entry will have their details recorded, including their time of arrival, party size, name and contact number (for contact tracing) and confirmation that all adult customers have been verified to be immune. Children under the age of 18 are not required to provide contact details.

This information must be recorded for both walk-ins and pre-bookings, and the business must retain it for 28 days.

Six people over the age of 13 can sit together at a table. This limit does not include children under 12 years of age. The total combined capacity at a table, however, cannot exceed 15.

Customers can only avail of table service. Customers must wear face coverings at all times except while seated at their table.

Those leaving the restaurant premises should inform the staff. They will be given a pass, which must be returned or checked upon re-entry. All indoor dining services are only permitted to operate until 11:30 pm.

There is no time limit for spending time at the table. There is no requirement for pre-booking. Businesses should ensure that proper queue management systems are in place. Counter service has been prohibited in order to protect staff who did not receive the vaccine.

The Health and Safety Authority and HSE are part of the legislation. An online QR code scanner has been developed to assist businesses in verifying customers’ DCC.

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise Leo Varadkar said: “From Monday we are going to open indoor hospitality, get lots of businesses open and lots of people back to work.

“The restrictions being applied to this reopening are designed to be a temporary measure … I know that operating this new system will be inconvenient for business and could add to staff costs. It is, however, the only way we can re-open and stay open throughout this Delta wave.”

Tourism Minister Catherine Martin said: “I am acutely aware of the devastation the necessary public health restrictions have had on tourism and hospitality businesses since March 2020 with many unable to open at all. The minister also reminded customers and businesses to work together to meet the new guidelines.

The Minister of Tourism said that double payments would be made available from the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme for three weeks for businesses starting from Monday.

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