Customers enjoy welcome return to indoor hospitality

Indoor hospitality has resumed for the first time since last December, while so-called ‘wet pubs’ around the country, which were closed in March last year when Covid-19 restrictions came into effect, can also open their doors.

People who are fully vaccinated or who have recovered from Covid-19 in the past six months can avail of indoor hospitality, along with accompanied minors.

Contact tracing is now only required for the lead person at a table and for solo customers under new updated guidelines, which were agreed last night.

Restaurants Association of Ireland Chief Executive Adrian Cummins said another change is that designated tables have been removed.

“This means businesses don’t have to keep a record of what table a party sat at – we only heard about these updated guidelines through an email at ten past midnight this morning.”

Businesses that have reopened will also be able to avail of the three-week double payment of the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme.

Fáilte Ireland said the guidelines on indoor hospitality are challenging, but aim to strike a balance between having a robust system in place and ensuring there is a reasonable process for businesses to operate.

Director of Sector Development Jenny De Saulles said they are delighted the recommendation to record only the contact details for the lead person in a group was taken on board.

Health officials have urged people to embrace the reopening safely with Health Service Executive CEO Paul Reid asking people to “make it work”.