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Restaurants and gastropubs reopen today - here's everything you need to know

Time limits, substantial meals and all the rest.

Image: Shutterstock/David Tadevosian

RESTAURANTS AND GASTROPUBS are allowed to reopen from today across the country.

Ireland entered Level 3 restrictions earlier this week after spending six weeks at Level 5.

Non-essential shops and services have reopened, cultural institutions like cinemas and museums are back open and from today, you can once again dine in a restaurant. 

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said there had been a “massive national effort” to push back the disease and many sacrifices had been made by individuals and businesses during Level 5.  

Here’s everything you need to know about eating in a restaurant from today onwards. 

What is allowed to reopen?

Restaurants and gastropubs are allowed to reopen for indoor dining with some additional restrictions in place.

These include: 

  • A requirement for meals to be prepared inside the restaurant 
  • A maximum of six diners per table both indoors and outdoors
  • Multiple booking for the same party are not permitted

Wet pubs are not allowed to reopen at the moment and are still restricted to takeaway services only. 

Plans to give gardaí new powers to fine people who gather outside to drink alcohol were shelved by Cabinet last month.

Instead of an all-out ban on takeaway pints, ministers instead decided to focus on the enforcement of existing rules which govern the consumption of alcohol in a public space.

In terms of dining in hotels, people not staying in the hotel will be permitted to have a meal in the restaurant. 

What restrictions are in place? 

A substantial meal costing no less than €9 must be served in the restaurant or pub operating as a restaurant under the current guidelines from Fáilte Ireland. 

Places serving food and drinks also need to close by 11.30pm. There is no live or loud music permitted. 

A distance of at least two metres is required between tables in a controlled environment such as a restaurant. This can be reduced to one metre if two metres is not possible, and if a number of requirements are met. 

These requirements include using signs to ask customers not to enter if they have Covid-19 symptoms, regulate entry to avoid premises becoming too crowded and place plexiglass barriers at tills and counters if feasible. 

If tables are just one metre apart, a maximum dining time of one hour and 45 minutes should be in place for diners. 

This limit is only required for restaurants with less than two metres between tables. 

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It is recommended that customers wear face coverings when arriving to and leaving their table in restaurants. 

Restaurants are also advised to encourage bookings rather than walk-ins. Customers must remain seated in the restaurant and order from their seat, not the bar counter. 

Diners must be advised to stand two metres away from other groups of people outside their household while queueing, using lifts or stairs, and when moving around the restaurant. 

Later this month on 18 December, restrictions on household visits will be lifted to allow two households to visit a third. Inter-county travel will also be permitted from this date, until 6 January.

Here’s a rundown of the other changes kicking in later this month and the measures already in place. 

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