Six per table, contact tracing, no live music and closed by 11.30pm

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The new draft guidelines for the reopening of indoor hospitality on Monday have been released by Fáilte Ireland.

The instructions had been due earlier this week, however, were finally published late on Friday night.

The operational guidelines, developed by the Government and Fáilte Ireland in consultation with representatives from the hospitality sector, indicate that all people over the age of 18 who wish to dine indoors must provide proof of immunity against Covid-19.

Information on the acceptable forms of proof, which includes the EU Digital Covid Certificate, can be viewed on the Government website.

Anyone under the age of 18 who is accompanied by an adult who has proof of vaccination/recovery can also avail of indoor dining.

Arrival

The guidelines state that each business must have a “defined, managed and supervised entrance point with an appropriate queue management system”.

The draft adds that each entrance must be controlled by a member of staff who has been instructed in the relevant processes, with “measures in place to ensure a person cannot access without being checked”.

Before customers may sit inside, a member of staff must check each over 18’s proof of immunity and corresponding photo ID to ensure the certs refer to the correct person.

The guidelines clarify that anyone claiming to be under 18 who the member of staff suspects to be over 18 may be asked for ID. Also, the business may refuse access to anyone who cannot offer proof of immunity, or proof that the certificate relates to them, as failure to adhere to the guidelines may result in a fine or the closure of the business.

After approving their proof of immunity, the business must then take contact tracing details from each adult. Time of arrival and party size will also be noted.

Dining

Within the business, a two-meter distance should be maintained between tables, according to the guidelines, however, “if this is not possible, this can be reduced to one meter in controlled environments” if the HPSC’s risk mitigation requirements have been met.

The 105-minute time limit has been scrapped, however, live music, dancing and mingling between tables will not be permitted.

Customers will only be able to order food and drink from their table, with no service permitted at the bar. Table numbers will be limited to six people over the age of 13. The total combined capacity per table, including children of 12 and younger, must not exceed 15.

The new rules state face coverings must be worn by members of staff at all times, while customers must wear face coverings except when seated at their table.

Multiple tables cannot be booked indoors and the premises must be clear of all customers by 11.30pm.

‘Temporary measure’

Commenting on the publication of the draft guidelines, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said the restrictions on indoor dining are designed to be a “temporary measure”.

“I know that operating this new system will be inconvenient for business and could add to staff costs. It is, however, the only way we can re-open and stay open throughout this Delta wave,” he said.

“Hopefully, it will not be necessary in a few months’ time but it is good to have it in place in case it is.

“There will be teething problems and we will work with the industry to review and amend the regulations as needed and based on practical experience,” Mr Varadkar added.



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