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19th May 2021

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar confirms €9 meal rule and time limit scrapped for bars and restaurants

Stephen Porzio

The Tánaiste has said hospitality in the future will be “a lot more practical”.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has confirmed the €9 substantial meal requirement and the time limit on customers are to be scrapped when outdoor dining and drinking returns from 7 June.

The Tánaiste made the comments during the Joint Committee meeting on enterprise, trade and employment on Wednesday and gave some details on what will be included in Fáilte Ireland’s guidelines for hospitality.

He said: “Just on the outdoor dining and drinking guidelines, it’s Fáilte Ireland, I believe, that does those guidelines so it won’t be done by us. We will have an input.”

While he did not have a date for when the full guidelines would be published, Varadkar said he appreciated people’s need to see them soon to plan ahead and gave “a rough idea” of what is expected.

He explained: “It’s going to be seated only, a metre or a metre and a half between tables. No more than six at a table. They can come from any number of households.

“There will be no rule of 15. If you have the space, you have the space. There won’t be a requirement to buy a substantial meal. That will be gone.

“We don’t anticipate that there’ll be a limit on the amount of time that you can stay. It’ll be a lot more practical than what existed before but that’s not finalised yet.”

The Tánaiste also said it was the Government’s hope and intention to allow indoor dining to resume in early July, along with some mass events.

However, he added that he could not confirm if this will happen and stated it would depend on the situation regarding Covid-19 vaccine administration, case numbers, hospital numbers and variant fears.

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