CONFIRMED: Indoor dining will return Monday but LVA warns of “flashpoints” at entrances to hospitality 1 week ago

CONFIRMED: Indoor dining will return Monday but LVA warns of “flashpoints” at entrances to hospitality

The LVA has also warned that businesses "urgently need" the updated public health guidelines published.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has confirmed that indoor dining will partially return as previously suggested on Monday, 26 July.

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He made the comments to reporters after Cabinet signed off on the reopening of indoor hospitality in pubs and restaurants for people vaccinated against or recovered from Covid-19.

The Taoiseach said that regulations are still being worked on and will be published in advance of the opening, along with the guidelines.

It comes after President Michael D Higgins signed the legislation to support the guidelines into law earlier on Wednesday, after it was passed in the Dáil and Seanad last week.

The guidelines will see time limits for those permitted to eat and drink inside bars and restaurants scrapped, yet there will be a closing time of 11.30pm.

Unvaccinated children will also be allowed to dine with adults as long as their table is situated two metres away from other tables. There will be a maximum of six people per table.

Government, meanwhile, is working on an app that will enable pub and restaurant workers to verify if a patron has been vaccinated against or recovered from Covid-19. Paper certificates will also be accepted by hospitality staff.

The Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) has described Cabinet’s decision to confirm the reopening of indoor hospitality and the President’s signing of the Health (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill into law as “positive”.

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However, it has warned that businesses "urgently need" the updated public health guidelines to be published to finalise their preparations to open next Monday.

“The Cabinet’s decision and the signing of the legislation into law is a very positive step towards reopening but businesses will not be in a position to make their final preparations until the guidelines are published,” said Chief Executive of the LVA Donall O’Keeffe.

“We are aware that Fáilte Ireland and the relevant Government departments are working hard to finalise these guidelines against an extremely tight timetable.

"We acknowledge their commitment but it is obviously critical for a successful indoor reopening that the guidelines are available as soon as possible.

“We know everyone in hospitality will still have a lot of questions as to what they will be required to do to facilitate indoor service. Many of those won’t be clarified until the guidelines are formally published by the Government and Fáilte Ireland."

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He stated that the LVA remains concerned that "flashpoints" may occur at the entry to indoor hospitality.

"We hope this will be carefully monitored and should any trouble arise the authorities will be available to assist the hospitality business in question," he added.

"We are also calling on all hospitality businesses and members of the public to ensure they carefully follow the new system. This is the only means that indoor hospitality will be permitted so it is up to everyone involved to do everything they can to make it work."

O’Keeffe also called for an "active and visible" inspection regime to be implemented across all hospitality businesses from Monday and said any business that flouts the law "needs to face severe consequences".

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