Final Decision On Indoor Hospitality Resumption Expected On July 21
A final decision on the resumption of indoor hospitality services, which is currently due to occur on Monday July 26, is expected to be made by Cabinet on Wednesday July 21.
It was reported on Monday July 19 that senior government officials had said that the planned resumption of indoor hospitality services is expected to proceed despite a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases among young people, which followed news that the Dáil has passed legislation on the resumption of indoor hospitality services for individuals who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and individuals who have recovered from the virus, as well as a statement by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar that Monday July 26 is the government's target date for the resumption of indoor hospitality services.
As reported by rte.ie, President Michael D. Higgins must now decide this week if he will sign the newly-passed legislation, and it is likely that he will make his decision on Wednesday July 21.
In accordance with normal procedure, the president has five to seven days to sign the newly-passed legislation, and if he signs the legislation, the government is likely to emphasise the need for both customers and the hospitality sector to act responsibility as COVID-19 case numbers continue to increase.
The guidelines for the resumption of indoor dining hospitality are reportedly currently being finalised by Fáilte Ireland.
A Cautious And Prudent Approach To Resuming Indoor Hospitality
The higher education minister, Simon Harris, has reportedly said the government has not received any new advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) that suggests that the resumption of indoor hospitality should not proceed.
Harris reportedly said that the approach to resuming indoor hospitality services will be cautious and prudent, and that the number of COVID-19 cases is going to increase significantly in the coming days and weeks.
Harris reportedly said, "There is no doubt that the number of people in hospital will somewhat increase as well, and we are beginning to see that too."
Harris reportedly said that this is a race between vaccines and variants, and warned that unvaccinated individuals are more likely than ever before to catch COVID-19.
Harris reportedly called on unvaccinated individuals to exercise extreme caution.
Hospitality Industry Representatives To Meet With Government Officials
Representatives from the restaurant and pub sectors will reportedly meet with government officials this evening (Tuesday July 20) as work continues on the guidelines for the resumption of indoor hospitality services.
The question of whether or not there will be time limits on indoor hospitality services will reportedly be examined.
There were reportedly indications on Monday July 19 that time limits will be introduced, but further meetings between the restaurant and pub industries and government officials are expected to take place later this week to confirm the final details.
The issue of social distancing requirements and air ventilation measures will reportedly also be discussed.
RAI Chief Executive Statements
Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) chief executive Adrian Cummins reportedly said that there are some outstanding issues that need to be finalised, and that the RAI has a "bone of contention" over the point at which customers will have to present their certificate of vaccination or recovery, which he reportedly said should be at the point of sale in certain venues.
Cummins reportedly said on RTÉ's Morning Ireland radio programme that businesses want to do the right thing, and called on the government to ensure that any venues that step out of line are closed immediately.
Cummins reportedly said that hotels have been operating indoor hospitality services since June 2 and there have been no issues.
Very Steep Rise In Infections
Chair of the Nphet Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group Professor Philip Nolan reportedly said that there has been a very steep rise in the number of COVID-19 infections, comparable to or steeper than the early part of previous waves, and that this will not translate into severe disease and mortality in the same way as before, but that numbers in hospital are increasing.
Best For Unvaccinated Individuals To Socialise Outdoors
Ireland's chief medical officer, Doctor Tony Holohan, reportedly urged unvaccinated individuals to socialise outdoors.
Holohan reportedly said, "If you are fully vaccinated, you can have confidence in your vaccine and enjoy socialising and meeting with other vaccinated people indoors, so long as you continue to follow the basic public health precautions.
"If you are waiting to be fully vaccinated, then it is best to continue to socialise outdoors.
"Events like barbecues, meeting in a park or going to the beach can be enjoyed safely once we do our best to minimise the risks of transmission - only meet in small groups, wash or sanitise your hands regularly, don't share utensils and wear a face mask where appropriate. If you are meeting indoors, ensure that the room is well ventilated."
© 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.