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Indoor hospitality reopening plan: Ministers will sign off on plans at today’s cabinet meeting

DUBLIN: The decision on the government’s indoor hospitality re-opening plan will be taken at today’s cabinet meeting. Ministers and senior officials had held discussions with representatives of the hospitality industry to consider reopening indoor hospitality in bars and restaurants. The government is moving forward with legislation aimed at allowing the sector to reopen from next week.

The government aims to pass legislation that will allow vaccinated people to eat and drink inside bars and restaurants. Vaccinated people from Northern Ireland, Britain and the US will also be allowed entry if they have verifiable proof of vaccination.

The bill, which amends the 1947 Public Health Act, is expected to pass in the Dáil and Seanad on Friday night and then be signed into law by the President. The new system will go into effect once President Michael D Higgins signs the bill, most likely between July 19 and July 23.

But many questioned whether the bill was unconstitutional. If the President wishes to clarify the matter, he will consult with the Council of State and refer the bill to the Supreme Court. In that case, it may take a little longer to have the bill approved.

Children can enter with parents

People under the age of 18 who are accompanied by vaccinated parents or another vaccinated individual will be allowed to enter pubs and restaurants. This will require proof of vaccination, which can be obtained by downloading an app with a QR code or in paper form. Those who have recently recovered from COVID-19 will also have access to pubs and restaurants under the current bill.

Legislation is also expected to allow antigen testing to allow indoor hospitality in the summer and the autumn.

Restaurant owners are delighted

The Restaurants Association of Ireland has welcomed the government’s move to allow indoor hospitality. “We are within touching distance of reopening indoor hospitality which will allow for 180,000 employees return to work,” RAI chief executive Adrian Cummins said.

Sinn Féin disappointed  

Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty expressed disappointment that the opposition has not seen any of the legislation for the reopening of indoor hospitality. He also criticised the non-inclusion of antigen testing in the re-opening.

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