Following its latest roadmap for re-opening society and the changes announced in June, the Government of Ireland has authorised the resumption of indoor dining and indoor bar service in Ireland to those who are fully vaccinated. This is a welcome development in the return to business and trading for those in the hospitality sector. This sector has suffered the most disruption since the outbreak of Covid-19 in Ireland.
The rules set out the basis for allowing customers to attend and remain indoor in restaurants and pubs after the 26th July. A summary of the rules is as follows:
- The customers must be fully vaccinated and be in a position to verify this to the bar or restaurant owner
- Proof of vaccination can be either the digital vaccination certificate or the hard copy certificate
- Customer who have recovered from Covid-19 in the past six months can also access indoor bar and restaurant service
- Proof of vaccination or recovery must be accompanied by an ID to verify the identify of the vaccinated customer in question.
- There is no limit on the amount of time customers can spend in the bar or restaurant
- Children who are under the age of 18 accompanying vaccinated customers can attend and do not have to produce ID or proof of vaccination/recovery
- the Government has not set out what evidence is acceptable for those who have recovered from Covid-19 but are not yet vaccinated. The accepted view is a record of a positive Covid-19 test in the previous six months should suffice.
- The restaurants and bars must maintain a contact tracing list for customers admitted to indoor dining.
- Bars are permitted to serve indoors for table service only. There is no drinking at the bar.
- A maximum of six people aged thirteen and over are allowed at each table. There is no restriction on the amount of households from which these six people have come.
- Where children under the age of thirteen are involved the maximum number at a table can be fifteen people, so long as the number over the age of thirteen are no more than six.
- For those parties who are unvaccinated or have not recovered from Covid-19 in the last six months, bars and restaurants may continue to serve these customers outdoors.
The rules are viewed by all as a transitionary measure whilst the Government completes its vaccination rollout. Notwithstanding the concerns over the application of the rules, inspections are not proposed to ensure compliance. However businesses found in default of the regulations may compromise their individual licences which they must renew annually.
As a leading practice in licensing law in Ireland we are happy to assist with any queries about the application of the rules for indoor dining or indeed Covid-19 and its impacts on business. We are experts on the regulations governing the hospitality sector in Ireland. Our Dublin city centre solicitors offices are welcoming and our service is personable.