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Roadmap to easing hospitality restrictions ‘to be drawn up’

Government officials and representatives from the hospitality industry had a “robust and engaging conversation”.

A ROADMAP for the further relaxation of Covid restrictions for hospitality in Ireland is to be drawn up, an industry representative has said.

Representatives from the hospitality industry met with Government officials yesterday where they pushed for an end to the 11.30pm Covid-19 closing time rule from September onwards.

Indoor dining is currently restricted to people who can prove they are vaccinated or have recovered from the virus.

Speaking after the meeting, Adrian Cummins from the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI), said it had been a “robust and engaging conversation”.

He told Virgin Media News: “We put forward all of our requests and asks. We will meet with officials again in about two weeks time.

There will be a roadmap to relaxation of restrictions developed at the end of August, beginning of September and they will be reviewed under public health advice, so we are moving in the right direction.

“Obviously a lot of work will have to happen over the next number of weeks ahead.”

Cummins also reacted to a statement from the Attorney General that Government regulations now allow for outdoor events of up to 200 people

He said: “That is good news for the hospitality industry, it is not news we would have heard before this.

“We welcome that, it gives more opportunity for businesses to have more people outdoors for social events and we want to make sure that we do everything right within public health advice so we welcome this announcement from the Attorney General.”

Cummins later tweeted: “Hospitality businesses have missed out on a substantial amount of revenue due to lack of clarification regarding maximum 200 attendees at Outdoor Hospitality events Normal trading hours must be reinstated as a matter of urgency to balance the loss of income for businesses.”

The Government is due to consider any fresh easing of Covid-19 restrictions at the end of August.

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Abusive campaigns

The Journal reported last week that some pubs and restaurants have been the subject of coordinated online abuse and fake reviews by those opposing the use of Covid-19 vaccine certs to attend indoor dining.

“We want to know what their plan is to tackle this,” said Cummins yesterday.

The RIA wrote to Garda Commissioner Drew Harris about the abusive campaigns last week saying “fake bookings and reviews are a malicious, concerted and coordinated campaign of fraudulent misrepresentation towards small businesses.”

In response, An Garda Síochána said that while it “sympathises greatly” with businesses experiencing the abuse “patrons not attending bookings does not constitute a criminal matter”.

“If your members are able to demonstrate that a coordinated campaign of negative reviews is occurring, then this should be brought to the attention of their local Garda station,” a spokesperson said. 

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