Hospitality Businesses Hopeful Following Outdoor Transmission Data

By Steve Wynne-Jones
Hospitality Businesses Hopeful Following Outdoor Transmission Data

Hospitality businesses remain hopeful that they may be soon permitted to open for outdoor dining, following a study by The Irish Times that just 0.1% of the State's COVID-19 cases came about as a result of outdoor activities.

The data found that of the 232,164 cases reported in Ireland up to 24 March this year, just 262 came about as a result of outdoor transmission.

In response to the findings, Adrian Cummins, chief executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, commented on Twitter, "Surely all outdoor sports and activities, including outdoor hospitality, can restart with immediate effect in light of this new scientific data."

Elsewhere, following the Irish Times findings, reports yesterday suggested that the end of May could be set as a 'viable target' for a return to outdoor dining, as well as allowing pubs to serve in an outdoor setting.

"We now have scientific evidence that there is a very reduced risk of COVID transmission outdoors," Fianna Fáil TD Jim O'Callaghan said. "We need to follow this science by permitting outdoor sports and activities."


Enhancement Scheme

Last week, the Irish government announced details of a new €17 million scheme for developing outdoor dining capacity nationwide.

The Outdoor Dining Enhancement Scheme comprises two parts – firstly, to provide funding for businesses to develop and increase their own outdoor seating capacity, and secondly, to enable local authorities to develop permanent outdoor public dining spaces in towns and urban centres.

The Restaurants Association of Ireland has anticipated some issues with the scheme, however, suggesting that Ireland may not currently have enough local authority staff in place to ascertain if the footpath can accommodate tables and chairs for businesses.

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