New details announced for indoor dining as reopening date looms

ireland
New Details Announced For Indoor Dining As Reopening Date Looms
While customers were already expected to provide their vaccination cert as well as photo ID, each customer will now also have to give their contact details for tracing purposes. Photo: Getty Images.
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Digital Desk Staff

Pubs and restaurants have been told they will have to take contact details for every patron when indoor hospitality reopens next week, in a move that has angered stakeholders.

As The Irish Times reports, a meeting between Government officials and industry representatives has finished and sources present said two major changes were announced.

While a customer was already expected to provide their vaccination cert as well as photo ID, each customer will now also have to give their contact details for tracing purposes.

“This came out of nowhere. Previously if there was a group of four, we would take one set of details. Now we have to take everyone’s mobile number,” a source said.

The second change is that the Government has decided that every entrance to an establishment must need to be staffed and policed, instead of one main entrance. “This will have staffing implications,” the source added.

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The Attorney General met Government officials and Fáilte Ireland on Friday morning to finalise the regulations that will govern the indoor dining system coming into force on Monday.

Early indications

Another meeting between Government officials and hospitality representatives took place today. Early indications from that meeting suggested the new guidelines will not be officially published until 7pm tonight.

It was expected that customers would require some form of photo identification, which will be used alongside a digital scanner, showing a customer’s name and whether their certification for immunisation or recovery from Covid-19 is valid.

Attorney General Paul Gallagher raised concern at Cabinet on Wednesday over some elements of the regulations, such as data protection, enforcement and the exclusion of unvaccinated people.

President Michael D Higgins has signed off on the legislation underpinning the new indoor dining system. An app for businesses to check proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid is expected to be ready on Friday.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said on Friday morning that the Government wants “to get regulations and guidelines right” ahead of the reopening of the hospitality sector next week.

Delta wave

Speaking at an event in Ballinasloe in Co Galway, he said “the important thing from my point of view is that this opening indoors is permanent, and we get it right, and make sure it’s safe, and make sure indoor hospitality stays open during the Delta wave”.

When asked about the rise in cases attributed to the Delta variant, the Tánaiste said “the link between cases and number of people in hospital, in ICU and who have died, has very significantly weakened,” and noted there are between 800 and 900 more hospital beds than before the pandemic.

“That isn’t to say the hospitals won’t come under pressure – they will – but we believe it’s one we can manage and therefore we don’t believe we have to reimpose restrictions.”

The much-mooted Covid-19 booster shot is being worked on “on a contingency basis” according to the Tánaiste, who said it’s still in the early stages and vaccination data from Israel is being reviewed.

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