Phased Re-Opening of Indoor Hospitality
Leo Varadkar, Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment as well as the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin yesterday, welcomed the Government decision to agree a phased approach to reopen the hospitality sector in a cautious but progressive manner.
The Ministers, their officials and agencies have worked with the hospitality industry representatives and unions to assess options to operationalise the NPHET advice of 28 June that restrictions on indoor restaurant and bar services be eased for those that are fully vaccinated or recovered by COVID-19. The restrictions were initially to be lifted for 5 July 2021, but the rapid spread of the Delta variant internationally and modelling of the potential impacts on public health in Ireland led to NPHET advising a more cautious approach to reopening.
In the context of the overriding objectives to protect public health and to mitigate the potential for further restrictions arising from the covid variants, the government has agreed to the following measures:
- an easing of restrictions on indoor hospitality for members of the public who are fully protected by vaccination or who have recovered from COVID-19 in the previous six months
- members of the public will be able to avail of indoor services on the presentation of verifiable evidence of vaccination or immunity status
- the government’s new Digital COVID Certificates, which Ireland and other EU countries are implementing, can be used by members of the public as evidence of being fully vaccinated, or other medical documentation, which will be set out in guidelines in the coming days
- for visitors to Ireland outside the EU a nationally certified equivalent can be used for the purposes of verifying the vaccination or immunity status of such persons, in line with agreed government policy on international travel
- children under-18 accompanied by a vaccinated or recovered adult parent or guardian can also be admitted for indoor services
- So as to ensure a safe and sustained reopening, so
cial distancing measures will remain in place in order to protect workers and children in such premises in line with discussions with unions and the hospitality sector
Pub, restaurant and café operators and hotels will be required to comply with the government’s Work Safely protocol for the protection of workers and public health, social distancing. Detailed guidelines for reopening will be published in the coming days by Fáilte Ireland.
The government also agreed to give further consideration to the use of PCR and rapid antigen testing in further phases of lifting of restrictions. The government’s new Expert Advisory Group on Rapid Testing, Chaired by Professor Mary Horgan will be asked to provide appropriate guidance.