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Indoor Hospitality Services And International Travel To Resume In July

Published on May 31 2021 10:34 AM in Features tagged: Featured Post / pubs / Aer Lingus / restaurants / hotels / IHF / VFI / Tourism Ireland / LVA / cafes / Irish hotels federation / Vintners' Federation of Ireland / bars / Licensed Vintners Association / Outdoor Dining / outdoor drinking / indoor dining / EU Digital COVID Certificate / indoor drinking

Indoor Hospitality Services And International Travel To Resume In July

It has been announced that restaurants, cafés, pubs and bars will be permitted to provide indoor services again from July 5, and non-essential travel will be permitted to resume on July 19, on which date Ireland will begin operating the newly-announced EU Digital COVID Certificate.

The announcement of the date from which restaurants, cafés, pubs and bars will be permitted to provide indoor services again closely follows the publication of safety guidelines for the reopening of the hospitality sector.

Outdoor Service Enhancement Scheme

As previously reported, restaurants, cafés, pubs and bars will be permitted to provide outdoor services from June 7, five days after hotels will be permitted to reopen on June 2.

Minister for tourism, arts, culture, Gaeltacht, sport and media Catherine Martin has announced a new outdoor service support scheme for hospitality businesses called the Outdoor Service Enhancement Scheme.

Rte.ie quotes Martin as saying, "The Outdoor Service Enhancement Scheme will provide much needed assistance to businesses who in many cases been unable to open since March 2020.

"Our pubs and bars are an important social outlet and a popular element of our tourism and hospitality offering.

"Along with the Outdoor Dining Enhancement Scheme businesses will receive assistance to transform appropriate outdoor spaces as welcoming vibrant places helping businesses to recover and people to return to work."

Rte.ie quotes the government as saying, "It is expected that eligible pubs will be able to apply for up to €4,000 each, a similar amount which is being given to food-serving businesses.

"All applicants will be required to comply with planning codes, legislative requirements and other compliance requirements. Details will be finalised in the days ahead."

Additional details about financial supports for businesses are reportedly expected to be outlined on Tuesday June 1 when the National Economic Recovery Plan is published.

International Travel

As mentioned above, Ireland will be begin operating the EU Digital COVID Certificate on July 19.

As reported by rte.ie, to be considered vaccinated under the EU Digital COVID Certificate system, individuals will need to have received all necessary vaccine doses, and there are also provisions under the system to permit individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 or who have received a negative test result to travel.

As reported by rte.ie, minister for transport Eamon Ryan said that, under the system, children will still require a negative PCR test to travel, and that EU member states have a six week discretion on implementation, and Ireland will be using part of that.

Travel from third countries, which is the designation that has been given to the UK and the US, will reportedly return at a similar time, using measures that are similar to the EU Digital COVID Certificate system, and Ryan reportedly said that mandatory hotel quarantine will continue to apply to travellers from a small number of countries.

Belgium, France, Luxembourg and the US have been removed from the list of countries to which the mandatory hotel quarantine rule currently applies.

Number Of People Permitted In Outdoor And Indoor Venues

From June 7, up to 200 people will be permitted to attend outdoor venues that have a minimum capacity of 5,000, and a maximum of 100 people will be permitted to gather for a majority of outdoor events.

From July 5, a maximum of 500 people will be permitted to attend outdoor events in venues that have a maximum capacity of 5,000.

Also from July 5, a maximum of 50 people will be permitted to attend most indoor venues, while 100 will be permitted to attend events in larger venues with strict health and safety measures in place.

Subject to continued progress in controlling the spread of COVID-19, from August 5, up to 200 people will be permitted in larger indoor venues, and up to 100 will be permitted in all other indoor venues.

Weddings

As reported by The Irish Times, from June 7, up to 25 people will be permitted to attend a wedding reception.

As reported by rte.ie, from July 5, up to 50 people will be permitted to attend a wedding celebration or reception.

As reported by The Irish Times, from August 5, up to 100 people will be permitted to attend a wedding reception.

Pilot Events

A number of pilot entertainment events will be held in June and July, including large and small music and sporting events.

Cinemas

Cinemas will be permitted to reopen from June 7.

Household Interactions

As reported by The Irish Times, from June 7, people will be permitted to allow one other household to visit their homes indoors regardless of whether they have been vaccinated.

From July 5, up to three households will be permitted to gather together with another household regardless of whether they have been vaccinated.

LVA Response

Responding to the news that pubs and bars will be permitted to resume indoor services from July 5, Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) chief executive Donall O'Keeffe said in a statement published on the LVA's website, "We are pleased to have finally received confirmation that all pubs will be able to reopen for indoor service from 5th July. It has been a long time coming, but this is a time for hope and optimism. The 5th July will mark the beginning of the recovery for pubs and other hospitality businesses. Many pubs will not be in a position to offer outdoor service, so confirmation of the date for reopening indoors was vital. Everyone in our sector will now be counting down the days until the 5th July.

"It is extremely important that all pubs, food and traditional, will now be able to open together. We are absolutely delighted that the government has taken this on board and that there will be no further divisions in our industry. Our members are all simply 'pubs' once again. Hopefully no one will ever have the need to use the term 'wet pubs' in future. We also outlined to government that it was important for our sector that outdoor capacity should be dictated by social distancing requirements, so we are glad to see that has been reflected in the guidelines.

"While this announcement has been badly needed for quite some time, the publication of the National Economic Recovery Plan next week will also be vital for the recovery of our industry. The fact is that even in July, after almost 16 months of closure, we will still be operating with significant restrictions which really damage our viability. Some elements of the trade, such as late bars, won’t be opening on the 5th July. As the government is keen to see the hospitality sector recover, then supports will need to remain in place for the remainder of 2021 and beyond. We also welcome the announcement of an outdoor grant scheme for traditional pubs.

"Obviously, the 5th July will now mark a major milestone for our sector, but it really is the beginning of a process. We will also be working with the government in the coming weeks and months to discuss the easing of the restrictions on our trade as the vaccine rollout progresses and the public health situation improves."

VFI Response

Vintners' Federation of Ireland (VFI) chief executive Padraig Cribben said in a statement published on the VFI's website, "This announcement is hugely significant as it provides certainty to our members and the 50,000 staff employed in the trade about when they can reopen indoors. The end of our trade's 15-month nightmare is now in sight.

"It's important to remember that our members closed their businesses on 15th March 2020 and have remained mostly shut ever since. It has been a catastrophic time for the trade and I would like to pay tribute to all the publicans, their families and staff who have battled through such an unprecedented storm.

"Reopening in time for the traditional summer season is a big boost to the trade who can now plan with confidence for a busy July and August."

Cribben added, "In many ways, the announcement of a reopening date is only the beginning of the end of the crisis for the pub trade as we face an uncertain future where rebuilding consumer confidence and working within social distancing guidelines will be tough challenges. Supports will continue to play a vital role and we look forward to the announcement of further measures for the trade next week."

IHF Response

Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) president Elaina Fitzgerald Kane stated, "Today, hotels and guesthouses across the country have been given much-needed clarity that will help their business planning for the peak tourism season. This is another important step in the right direction for the tourism and hospitality industry. However, we still have a long road ahead of us.

"The government has sent a very clear signal that Ireland is reopening for tourism when it is safe to travel similar to other European countries. The domestic market was very important last year and will be again this year. However, it does not replace international visitor numbers. As an island nation international tourism is critically important, accounting for over 70% of tourism revenue pre-COVID. While hotels and guesthouses are not relying on significant overseas visitors this year, the easing of restrictions on international travel for business and leisure will be very important in extending the season for many Irish tourism businesses, while also supporting the recovery in our major cities including Dublin, where occupancy levels lag the rest of the country."

Fitzgerald Kane added, "Tourism will recover, but it will take time and needs additional supports. Our industry has been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and with some level of restrictions likely for some time to come, tourism recovery is not going to begin in earnest until 2022. The supports to date have been very welcome and akin to life support, but it is essential that the government provides greater clarity and certainty now around supports into 2022 and beyond so that businesses can plan.

"The hotel sector has a vital role to play in ensuring Irish tourism and hospitality returns to a more stable footing in the months ahead - helping to sustain thousands of businesses and almost 270,000 livelihoods throughout the country. These jobs represent 11% of total employment nationally and, with 70% located outside of Dublin, make a vital contribution to communities in every county and town throughout the country. In some communities, tourism is the only show in town. The industry’s recovery must be to the fore of government economic policy as we seek to restore employment levels and tourism communities as quickly as possible."

Tourism Ireland Response

Tourism Ireland chief executive Niall Gibbons stated, "Today's announcement is an extremely welcome and important step on the road to recovery for our industry. This will help protect thousands of jobs and livelihoods across the tourism industry. For the first time in many months, we can look to the future with optimism.

"We know from our research that there is significant pent-up demand among travellers in our overseas markets to return to the island of Ireland as soon as possible. However, we also know that there will be significant competition in the marketplace; every destination across the globe has experienced the impact of COVID-19 and will be seeking their share of the recovery. Our kick-start campaign will therefore need to punch through the noise and create an immediate desire to visit.

"Everyone at Tourism Ireland looks forward to getting back in full swing, to promote the island of Ireland as a safe, welcoming and 'must-see' destination across the world. Over the coming months, we will be working flat out, with all of our partners, to restore as much business as possible. Our message is that we can’t wait to roll out the green carpet and welcome back our overseas visitors."

Dublin Airport Response

In a statement published on Dublin Airport's website, the airport said, "Dublin Airport welcomes the Irish government's formal announcement of a timeline for the reopening of non-essential international travel in a safe and sustainable way.

"Under the roadmap announced this evening by the Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD, international travel will reopen from July 19. We, along with other key players in the Irish aviation sector, have been advocating for a clear roadmap for the reopening of travel for some time.

"Dublin Airport will continue to work with its airline customers, government agencies and other stakeholders in relation to the plans for a more widespread reopening of air travel.

"As Ireland's key international gateway, Dublin Airport will also be working to restore the vital connectivity that Ireland has lost over the past 14 months."

Cork Airport Response

In a statement published on Cork Airport's website, the airport said, "Cork Airport welcomes the government's formal announcement of a timeline for the reopening of non-essential international travel in a safe and sustainable way.

"Under the roadmap announced this evening by the Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD, international travel will reopen from July 19.

"DAA, which is the operator of Dublin and Cork airports - the two largest airports in the state - has been advocating for a clear roadmap for the reopening of travel for some time.

"Cork Airport will continue to work with our airline customers, government agencies and other stakeholders in relation to the plans for a more widespread reopening of air travel. We will also be working to restore the vital connectivity that the south of Ireland has lost over the past 14 months."

Aer Lingus Response

In a statement published on Aer Lingus's website, the airline said, "While Aer Lingus welcomes the easing of travel restrictions announced today, it will not facilitate a significant level of travel to and from Ireland during the critical summer months of 2021."

Aer Lingus added, "With restrictions in place until late July, Aer Lingus will continue to burn a significant amount of cash over the coming months. The cumulative consequences of the crisis over the last 15 months leaves Aer Lingus facing significant restructuring to rebuild its network and financial strength."

Consumer Spending On Holidays

As reported by The Irish Examiner, according to Deloitte's latest monthly consumer survery, between the end of March and the end of April, there was a 19% increase in the number of consumers looking to spend money on holiday plans.

According to The Irish Examiner, the survey also showed a 10% increase in the level of people who are intending to stay at a hotel in the next three months, and an 8% increase in the level of people who are looking to stay in private accommodation.

As noted by The Irish Examiner, the increase in the number of consumers looking to spend money on holiday plans occurred around the time that the first easing of COVID-19 restrictions was announced.

The above news about consumer spending on holidays follows news from last week that 73% of the people who participated in a survey commissioned by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) said that they are "proactively" making travel plans for this year, and 44% of the participants said that a staycation is their preferred holiday option for 2021, while 20% of participants said that they are planning to travel overseas this year.

© 2021 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.

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