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Regulations and guidance for indoor dining will be ready today or over the weekend, says Tánaiste

A meeting involving the hospitality industry and government officials is taking place today.

REGULATIONS TO ALLOW for indoor dining for fully vaccinated people or those with immunity should be ready today or over the weekend, according to Tánaiste Leo Varadkar.

A meeting involving the hospitality industry, government officials and representatives from Fáilte Ireland is taking place today to put the finishing touches to the new guidelines.

The guidance, which outlines the measures that will be in place in restaurants and pubs, is expected to be published later this evening.

Separate to the guidance document, the regulations are what underpin the new legislation that passed through the Dáil and Seanad recently and deal with issues such as enforcement.

The guidelines are expected to outline that hospitality operators must check every  customer’s Covid Certificate at the door, plus photo ID.

They will have to retain customers’ contact details for prospective contact tracing also.

The guidelines will also state that it will be six adults to a table, with two metres between tables if children are present and one metre otherwise.

There will be no time limits, but there will be an 11.30pm closing time.

Speaking to reporters today, Varadkar said that indoor hospitality will reopen on Monday.

He said the government wants to make sure that pubs and restaurants open on a permanent basis and do not close again.

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Varadkar said he understood that it would have been preferable to have the guidelines and regulations in place a number of weeks ago, but added that the change in policy for an immunity pass system, as recommended by NPHET, was a change and that the government “had to catch up on that”.

There is a need to “get it right”, said Varadkar, so as to ensure that doors can stay open  “through the Delta wave and other waves that might come our way”. 

He did not give a date on when a negative PCR test or negative antigen test might give a person access to indoor dining, but said the system does allow for that through the phased reopening.

The Tánaiste said people should expect to see a steep rise in cases in next number of weeks, as has been the case in other EU countries, but added that hospitalisation and ICU figures would be key.

He also said the link between case numbers and hospitalisation figures has been weakened significantly due to the vaccine programme.

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