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Indoor hospitality likely to return between 19-26 July: Varadkar

DUBLIN: The reopening of indoor dining in Ireland was slated to commence on July 5, but an increase in Delta variant COVID-19 cases forced the government to reconsider and postpone the plans. However, the Tanáiste has signalled that a return to indoor dining for the Irish public could be on the cards this month.

Leo Varadkar said that the hospitality sector is eager to resume as soon as possible and that it will most likely reopen between July 19 and July 26. “The 19th would be a target that we will try to reach, [it] will be hard to reach, I think we can do it before 26th,” he said.

The EU Digital Green Certificate will be used as an indoor dining pass, allowing fully vaccinated people to dine indoors. Although the cert allows fully vaccinated people, those with a negative PCR test result, and those who have recovered from COVID-19 over the last nine months to travel across Europe, only fully vaccinated people will be permitted for indoor dining.

A proposal to confirm reopening dates and detail how to open indoor dining in pubs, cafés and restaurants within NPHET’s guidance will be brought to Cabinet on Tuesday.

A bill to amend the 1947 Public Health Act to allow for the resumption of indoor hospitality is being worked on. Primary legislation is needed to make this amendment bill legal, and is set to go before the Dáil and Seanad next week. Once passed by the Dáil and Seanad, President Michael D. Higgins will sign it into law.

The measures in the bill will allow fully vaccinated people to eat and drink inside pubs and restaurants and will effectively expire once the population has been vaccinated.

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