Businesses and hospitality groups have welcomed the agreement from the Irish Cabinet that almost all Covid restrictions are to be removed in the coming weeks.
From September 6th, restrictions on indoor venues will be eased, with larger crowds permitted.
Indoor venues will be able to use up to 60 per cent of capacity when holding events for people who are double jabbed.
For outdoor events, 75 per cent of capacity will be available for vaccinated individuals and live music at weddings and pubs is also set to return from next week.
By October 22nd the legal requirement to prove immunity in order to access indoor hospitality or other events will be relaxed, as will all remaining restrictions on indoor and outdoor events and activities.
Chief executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland Adrian Cummins said: “The announcement goes a long way in terms of outlining a road map for the restaurant and hospitality sector with the provision of key dates, metrics and targets, but work must be done regarding business supports for an industry economically flattened since March 2020.
“The Restaurants Association of Ireland has continuously called for a structured, clear and transparent reopening plan which includes continuing supports for survival.
“With over 50% of restaurants on the verge of collapse a plan would give hope and confidence to a sector effectively closed for over 18 months.”
The chief executive of the Institute of Directors in Ireland, Maura Quinn, said the Government’s road map is a “boost to the economy”.
She added: “Of course, any road map is subject to changing circumstances, but the Government’s announcement brings both clarity and certainty in the short term.
“Beyond that, it is to be hoped that the public health situation continues to improve, and that the disruption of the past 20 months remains behind us.”
Patricia Callan, director of Drinks Ireland, which represents drinks manufacturers and suppliers said the announcement brought “timely clarity” for the industry and the economy.
She said: “Currently the plan says that there will be no changes to the current arrangements in the hospitality sector ahead of October 22, but we would call for consideration to be given to relaxing some of these measures ahead of that date.
“As vaccinations will continue to be necessary to enter venues between now and October 22, there is scope to allow for increased capacity in venues, removing social distancing requirements, and allowing activities that are prohibited like ordering and sitting at the bar counter.
“Additionally, we would call for the 11.30pm closure time to be extended.”
Elaina Fitzgerald Kane, president of the Irish Hotels Federation, said it was an “important milestone” for tourism and hospitality.
She added: “We have a long road ahead of us, however, which means that continued government supports are critical in sustaining the livelihoods of Ireland’s 270,000 tourism community.
“It was very disappointing to note that the limit of 100 guests will continue to apply to weddings given that up to 60% capacity is being allowed at other indoor events.
“We urge the Government to reconsider and to link the number of guests permitted to the capacity of the venue.”
Donall O’Keeffe, chief executive of the Licensed Vintners Association said: “Everyone associated with nightclubs and late bars will be extremely relieved to hear this positive news that they will be able to open their doors from October 22.
“For many of the 300+ venues around the country and the 5,000 people working in those venues they will have been wondering if this day would ever come.
“Thankfully they finally have a date and that will now allow them to start organising for their reopening.”