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Indoor dining likely to reopen between 19-26 July, Tánaiste says

A proposal is to be brought to Cabinet on Tuesday, which is expected to open indoor dining within NPHET’s guidance.

Image: Shutterstock/kirill guzhvinsky

INDOOR HOSPITALITY IS likely to reopen on a date between 19 and 26 July, Tanáiste Leo Varadkar has said.

Monday 19 July will be the earliest possible date, while Monday 26 July will be the latest, he said outside the count centre at the RDS today.

“The 19th would be a target that we will try to reach, [it] will be hard to reach, I think we can do it before 26th,” he said, adding that the sector is eager to open up as soon as possible.

A proposal is to be brought to Cabinet on Tuesday which is expected to outline how to open indoor dining within NPHET’s guidance. In practice, this will mean limiting indoor dining to those who are fully vaccinated.

It is understood that the EU Digital Green Certificate will be used as an indoor dining pass, and although this allows people who have a negative PCR test result to travel around the EU, only fully vaccinated people with the pass will be permitted to dine indoors in Ireland.

Primary legislation is needed to make this legal, and will need to be rushed through the Dáil and Seanad, before being signed by the President, before it can come into effect.

Although there is a lot of disquiet among Government TDs over the proposed new laws, it is expected that a vote on the legislation would be passed if industry representatives back the Government’s plan.

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) is strongly opposed to the proposal, raising concerns that it would “run roughshod” over equality, data protection and privacy law.

“We are extremely concerned at the precedent that would be set if government goes ahead with this plan,” it said in a statement today.

ICCL Executive Director Liam Herrick said: “We cannot set a precedent whereby government can declare that problems with its own re-opening timetable constitute an emergency, which would justify ignoring serious and complex issues of workers’ rights, equality law, privacy, and data protection. Human rights law is there to protect us all. We cannot dispense with it when faced with political dilemmas.”

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ICCL has opposed the idea of vaccine passports since they were first mooted in early 2021 on the basis of discrimination and data protection concerns.

With reporting from Christina Finn.

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