Indoor Hospitality Services Could Resume For Fully Vaccinated Individuals Only
Indoor hospitality services could resume for fully vaccinated individuals only, as the Cabinet is meeting today (Tuesday June 29) to consider a proposal to develop a system that would permit only fully vaccinated individuals to eat and drink inside of pubs and restaurants, due to concerns about the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19.
As reported by rte.ie, this would mean that the resumption of indoor hospitality services, which was planned for July 5, would be delayed for several weeks so the system could be developed.
If an agreement is reached today, the government will reportedly aim to have a plan that would lay the foundations for the resumption of indoor hospitality services for fully vaccinated individuals completed by the middle of next month.
The meeting to consider the proposal for resume indoor hospitality services for fully vaccinated individuals only reportedly follows a recommendation from the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) that indoor hospitality services, apart from hotel services, should be limited to fully vaccinated individuals.
The recommendation reportedly presents legal and logistical challenges.
It is reportedly expected that engagement with the hospitality sector will start today, with the goal to complete a plan completed by mid-July, but an exact date for when indoor hospitality services can resume has not yet been set.
International Travel And Weddings
Despite the new recommendations about indoor hospitality services, non-essential international travel reportedly looks to still be on course to resume on July 19, and the Cabinet is reportedly expected to give the permit an increase in the number of people who can attend weddings to 50 in July.
However, all other planned easing of restrictions for indoor gatherings reportedly look set to be delayed.
Minister For Transport Statement
Rte.ie quotes Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan as saying, "I think what we have to do is sit down with restaurant's association and other interests, a whole variety of different stakeholders…including sporting organisations and others who might be affected, and we will work out solutions with them."
RAI CEO Response
Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) CEO Adrian Cummins reportedly said on RTÉ's Morning Ireland radio programme that allowing fully vaccinated people to eat and drink inside of hospitality venues would be "discriminatory and unworkable", and that there are also legal questions about the discriminatory nature of such plans under the Equal Status Act.
Rte.ie quotes Cummins as saying, "The summer is now lost for thousands and thousands of businesses across the state...there is no end in sight."
Cummins reportedly also called on the government to fast track the vaccination of hospitality sector employees, saying that this is a necessary move to make the latest proposals work.
VFI Chief Executive Response
Meanwhile, Vintners' Federation of Ireland (VFI) chief executive Padraig Cribben reportedly said on Morning Ireland that proposals to allow indoor hospitality services to resume for fully vaccinated individuals only would lead to "increased stress, anxiety and cost for a sector that is already on its knees".
Cribben reportedly also said that it would be "very difficult to see how it would work", asking whether Nphet believes it is okay to enter a premises where young employees are not fully vaccinated, and that the area of discrimination would need to be addressed as well as dealing with individuals who refuse to wear a mask.
Calls For Clarity
The above news follows news from yesterday (Monday June 28) that a number of hospitality organisations have called on the government to provide clarity about when hospitality venues will be permitted to resume indoor services amid reports that the resumption of indoor hospitality services could be delayed due to concerns about the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19.
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