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FactCheck: Is Ireland one of the only countries in Europe without indoor dining?

The claim was first made last Friday. The Journal FactCheck finds it to be true.

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AN IMAGE BEING shared widely on social media in the past few days claims Ireland is one of the only countries in Europe where indoor dining is not currently permitted.

29.06.2021_17.25.09_REC Cosain / Twitter Cosain / Twitter / Twitter

The claim

The image says that Ireland and North Macedonia are the only European countries where indoor dining isn’t allowed. It includes all of the countries on the European landmass, not just members of the European Union. (North Macedonia, also in red in the image above, is not an EU member, but is currently a candidate country.)

The image was first shared by a Twitter account on 25 June, ahead of today’s announcement to postpone indoor dining. The country’s previous plan would have seen indoor hospitality re-open on 5 July.

The image has been shared widely in recent days. 

An earlier version of the image claimed that Ireland is the only country in Europe without indoor dining, but this was later updated to include Macedonia. 

Is it now correct? We’ve taken a look at the Covid restrictions of all the countries on that map and, yes, the vast majority of European countries are allowing indoor dining at some level. 

The evidence

Albania - Indoor dining in bars, restaurants, and cafés is allowed.

Andorra – Indoor dining services are open but for no more than eight people from different households. 

Austria – Indoor dining is allowed, but for a maximum of four adults, plus children, per table. A negative Covid test, proof of vaccination or past infection is also required to visit a restaurant.

Belarus – Indoor dining services are open. 

Belgium – Indoor dining resumed on 9 June. Establishments can open between 8am and 10pm. Bookings can be made for a maximum of four people or one household.

Bulgaria – Restaurants have been serving indoors since April. They currently can open between 6am and 11pm at 50% capacity.

Croatia – Indoor hospitality is allowed. Gatherings of up to 10 people from two different households are permitted. 

Cyprus – Indoor dining is allowed for those who can present a ‘SafePass’, which shows a person has contracted the virus in the last six months; that they have had a negative test in the past 72 hours; or they have at least one dose of a vaccine at least three weeks prior.

Czechia – Indoor diners are asked to observe social distancing and provide proof of a negative coronavirus test or proof of vaccination.

Denmark – Indoor dining and drinking is allowed except between the hours of midnight and 5am. Diners are asked for their ‘Corona passport’. No alcohol is served after 10pm. 

Estonia – Indoor dining at 50% capacity is allowed. The maximum number of people to a table is six and establishments must close at 10pm.

Finland – Indoor dining is allowed in most of the country once every customer has a seat at a table (no standing room). However, there are stricter rules in place in the Uusimaa region where the capital Helsinki is. There, capacity is 75% for restaurants and 50% for businesses that “primarily serve alcohol”. There are also some opening hour limitations. 

France – Indoor services are allowed with a 50% capacity and a maximum of 6 people at a table.

Georgia – Indoor dining resumed in June.

Germany – Indoor service is allowed but there are some restrictions in place that vary from region to region. Some areas require negative Covid tests, for example.

Greece – Currently, indoor dining is not permitted. However, after 1 July, cafés and restaurants that are well ventilated and have a separate entrance and exit will be allowed to reopen.

Hungary – Indoor dining resumed on 29 May. 

Iceland – Indoor dining is allowed with the country lifting the last of its Covid restrictions on Friday, 26 June. 

Italy – Indoor service is allowed but time limits are in place. People must wear masks when not eating/drinking and adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Kosovo – Restaurants, cafés and bars are all open for indoor services. 

Latvia – Indoor services are allowed but diners have to prove they have been vaccinated, are protected because of a previous infection or have a recent negative test.

Liechtenstein – Indoor services are currently open.

Lithuania – Indoor dining is currently banned as the country is under quarantine. But from tomorrow the country goes into a state of emergency, where indoor dining will then be allowed with restricted hours for those who can present a National Certificate pass. The National Certificate is for people who have been vaccinated against coronavirus, who have had Covid-19 or who can present a negative Covid-19 test. This can be PCR test or a rapid antigen test. (Note: This FactCheck originally erroneously said that the state of emergency on 1 July would bring in a ban on indoor dining.)

Luxembourg – Indoor service is allowed. Usual Covid measures such as facemasks and distancing are required. 

Malta – Indoor service is allowed in bar, restaurants and nightclubs. There are limits of six people per table. 

Moldova – Indoor dining and the frequenting of bars and cafés is permitted. 

Monaco – According to the Gouvernement Princier Principauté de Monaco (Princely Government Principality of Monaco), restaurants, bars, ice cream parlours and tearooms are open for lunch and dinner. Patrons must present a vaccination status, a negative test or a certificate of recovery. Dining is closed to day tourists. 

Montenegro – Indoor dining in bars and restaurants is allowed. However, there is a maximum of two people per table.

Netherlands – Indoor service is allowed, with a maximum of four people per table and customers must be given assigned seats. Hospitality staff must also be tested twice weekly. 

Norway – Indoor service is now open.

Poland – Indoor service is allowed at a 75% capacity in establishments since 26 June.

Portugal – Restaurants, cafés and pastry shops can serve customers indoors. In Albufeira, Lisbon and Sesimbra, there is a maximum of four people to a table. In the remaining regions and territories, it’s six people to a table.

Romania – Indoor service is allowed, with varying capacity restrictions from region to region depending on the cumulative infection rate.

Russia – As of yesterday, Moscow cafés and restaurants will only serve those who have been vaccinated, those who have had the virus in the last six months or those who can present a negative Covid test from the past 78 hours. 

Serbia – Indoor dining in Serbia is permitted, according to an Honorary Consul from the Serbian Embassy in Dublin.

Slovakia – Indoor service is allowed. It varies between regions as to whether four or people are allowed to a table.

Slovenia – Indoor service is allowed. Diners must present recovered-vaccinated-tested proof. The country declared an end to its epidemic on 15 June.

Spain – Indoor service is allowed. The number of people allowed at a table varies from region to region.

Sweden – In restaurants, cafés and bars, four people are allowed to a table and establishments must close at 10.30pm.

Switzerland – Indoor dining resumed at the end of May. 

Turkey – Indoor dining is allowed until 9pm with tables limited to two patrons.

UK – Indoor service is allowed across the UK. In England, groups of six can be served or any number of people from two households. In Wales, five people can gather, or one household, in a catering establishment. In Scotland, depending on the lockdown level in a local area, six people from three households can meet or eight people from three households (if restrictions are relaxed). In Northern Ireland, six people can gather indoors at bars and restaurants, or 10 people if they are all from the same household.

Ukraine – Restaurants, cafés and bars are open in Ukraine but with limited capacities. 

Representatives for Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia and San Marino have been contacted for clarification on whether or not indoor dining is permitted.


The claim that Ireland is one of the only countries in Europe without indoor dining is rated: TRUE

As per our guide, this means: The claim is accurate. 

From what The Journal has found, Ireland is not currently the only country in Europe where indoor dining is restricted but the vast majority of European nations are operating some level of indoor food services. However, it is one of a very small number where indoor dining is banned.  

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