Proposal For Resumption Of Indoor Hospitality Services To Be Put To Cabinet
Following negotiations between hospitality industry representatives and senior government officials last week, a proposal for the resumption of indoor hospitality services will be put to Cabinet today (Monday July 12).
As reported by The Irish Times, the proposal that will be put to Cabinet today is to allow reopening of indoor hospitality services to resume for individuals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or individuals who have proof of prior COVID-19 infection.
Officials reportedly worked over the weekend to finalise the legislation that will be put to Cabinet and discussed today, and the legislation will reportedly have to pass before the Dáil’s summer recess, which is due to begin on Friday July 16.
The date on which indoor hospitality services will be permitted to resume is reportedly likely to be between July 19 and July 26.
Hospitality industry representatives have reportedly pushed for indoor services to resume on July 19 to coincide with the planned resumption of international travel.
If the resumption of indoor hospitality services is to occur July 19, it will reportedly have to pass all stages of the Oireachtas and be signed into law by President Michael D. Higgins with connected regulations in place by the end of this week.
Adaption Of EU Digital COVID Certificate For Indoor Hospitality Services
It is reportedly expected that the EU Digital COVID Certificate for international travel will be adapted for use at the doors of Irish food and drinks venues to prove that customers are either fully vaccinated or have recently recovered from COVID-19.
Hospitality venues would reportedly be able to use a smartphone app to check individuals' EU Digital COVID Certificates, which are reportedly due to be distributed to 1.9 million Irish citizens from this week.
This system would reportedly also cover fully vaccinated individuals from Northern Ireland, the UK and the US once they show evidence of being fully vaccinated.
Tests, Children And New Variants
Sources have reportedly suggested that negative PCR and antigen tests could be used to gain access to indoor hospitality services further down the line, but additional scientific advice is required, as well as an examination of testing capacity for such measures to be introduced.
It is reportedly understood that a plan to allow children to accompany vaccinated parents into food and drinks venues as part of a "family bubble" is included in the proposal that will be put to Cabinet and discussed today.
A system is reportedly also included that would allow indoor hospitality services to continue if a new variant of COVID-19 emerges.
The Irish Times quotes Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) chief executive Adrian Cummins as saying in reaction to the news that Cabinet will discuss the proposal for the resumption of indoor hospitality services today, "We are within touching distance of reopening indoor hospitality which will allow for 180,000 employees return to work.
"It's imperative we build on the progress to date over the weeks ahead. The government must now roll out a national information campaign for consumers and hospitality businesses."
RAI Court Challenge To Indoor Dining Regulations
The above news reportedly follows a High Court adjournment to July 22 of a bid by the RAI and hospitality venue operators Boxty House Ltd, Esquires Coffee Houses Ltd and Sarsfield Taverns Ltd to challenge regulations permitting indoor dining within hotels while preventing indoor dining in non-hotel restaurants.
According to The Irish Times, Cummins said in an affidavit that the RAI's members have been "greatly disadvantaged and are incurring major economic loss by reason of the irrational regulations", and that he believes, and was advised, that the Minister for Health acted outside his powers in making regulations which, as they apply to restaurant and dining services since June 2, are "irrational, discriminatory, disproportionate, impossible to implement, lacing in certainty and lacking in substantive fairness".
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