World Draft guidelines for Irish indoor hospitality

13:12  24 july  2021
13:12  24 july  2021 Source:   bbc.com

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Draft guidelines for the reopening of indoor hospitality in the Republic of Ireland have been published.

From Monday, 26 July, all customers will have to show proof of immunity from Covid-19 before they can be served food or drink in indoor venues.

Proof of immunity means being able to show a record of full vaccination, or recent recovery from the disease.

The guidelines were developed by the national tourism authority, Fáilte Ireland, and government officials.

They state that proof of immunity will include the EU Digital Covid Certificate or a vaccination card from Ireland's Health Service Executive (HSE).

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"Before a customer is allowed to enter the seating area the proof of immunity for each adult must be checked to verify eligibility for entry to the seating area," the document states.

"These checks include verifying proof of immunity, combined with photo ID to ensure person is a 'permitted person'."

Children and young people under the age of 18 do not need to prove their immunity but must be accompanied by a parent or guardian who can show they have been vaccinated or have recovered.

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The indoor hospital vaccine pass system has been controversial, with many critics describing it as discriminatory against younger people who have not yet been vaccinated.

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About a third of the Republic's adult population are not yet fully vaccinated and therefore they cannot enter indoor hospitality venues.

Negotiations about the guidelines between the Irish government and hospitality groups went on late into Friday night.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the "broad outlines" of the guidance was already well known, but the exact legal parameters needed to be established.

The draft guidelines also state:

  • The name and contact details of each customer over 18 must be taken for contact tracing purposes
  • A maximum of six people aged 13 or over are permitted per table - the limit does not include accompanying children aged 12 or under
  • Face coverings must be worn by customers at all times other when seated
  • The bars and restaurants must operate via table service only
  • Time limits on how long customers can stay have been removed, but closing time remains 23:00 local time.

In addition to the immunity checks, Fáilte Ireland said hospitality businesses must continue to adhere to the usual Covid-19 infection prevention measures such as physical distancing, cleaning, maintaining good hand and respiratory hygiene and staying at home if feeling unwell.

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"The public health advice is still that outdoors is safer than indoors," the tourism organisation added.

It said the "final regulations" are expected to be signed off by the government on Sunday and once that is done, the guidance document will be updated.

The Republic's indoor hospitality sector has been closed throughout the first half of 2021 after Covid-19 infections soared during the Christmas holidays.

Outdoor hospitality reopened on 7 June, and indoor venues were due to reopen on 5 July, but this was delayed because of increasing cases of the Delta variant.

Instead, the government said it planned to limit indoor custom to people who could prove immunity and legislation to operate the new checks was signed into law this week.

It has previously been reported that those vaccinated in Northern Ireland, Great Britain and the United States will be permitted entry if they have verifiable proof of vaccination.

The Irish government website currently states: "For those from outside the EU who are fully vaccinated or recovered, the regulations that are being made under the Health (Amendment) (No.2) Act 2021 will provide details of the proofs of immunity that may be accepted by businesses."

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