Key Points from the New Indoor Dining Measures
Businesses such as Restaurants, Cafés, Pubs and Hotels may reopen for indoor service from today, 26 July 2021, subject to compliance with the relevant guidelines and measures that are now in effect.
The Government has published information on the reopening of hospitality which can be accessed here. Additionally, Fáilte Ireland has issued updated operational guidelines as well as Guidance for Indoor Hospitality which can be found here.
In this article, Compton Solicitors summarise some of the key points from the new indoor dining rules.
1 – Who Can Enjoy Indoor Hospitality Service?
- People who have been fully vaccinated;
- People who have recovered from COVID-19 in the last 6 months; and
- Accompanying children (even if unvaccinated).
Those who are unable to demonstrate that they have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 in the last 6 months will still be permitted to access outdoor hospitality services.
2 – Do Customers Have to Prove Their Vaccination or Immunity Status?
Yes, customers will have to prove that they are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 within the last 6 months. This will be done primarily via the EU Digital COVID Certificate, however, other proofs of immunity such as a HSE COVID-19 Vaccination
Record will also be accepted and details of what other proofs may be presented are expected shortly. Compton Solicitors will provide an update as soon as this is clarified.
It is important to note that customers may also be asked to show photo ID (such as driving licences or passports) in order to demonstrate that the proof of immunity or recovery that they have presented is theirs.
Accompanying children may also be asked for photo ID in order to prove that they are under 18 and so are excepted from the requirement to be fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 in the last 6 months.
3 – Can Customers be Refused Entry?
The Government’s guidance on the Reopening of Hospitality as well as Fáilte Ireland’s Guidance for Indoor Hospitality note that businesses may refuse entry to customers who cannot offer proof of immunity or recovery, or cannot demonstrate that their proof of immunity or recovery relates to them. Both guidance notes state that if businesses do not operate on this basis, they themselves may be liable for fines or closure.
4 – How do Businesses Check Digital COVID Certificates?
The Government has developed a Digital COVID Certificate Checker tool for businesses to use which may be accessed here, together with details for its use.
The checker tool scans the QR code contained within the paper or electronic copy EU Digital Covid Certificate and will determine whether or not the certificate is valid for indoor dining and hospitality.
5 – What are the Conditions for Indoor Service?
Some of the main conditions in place for indoor hospitality service include:
- Managed Entry Point: A managed and supervised entry point with an appropriate queue management system must be put in place at the entrance to the premises or the point of entry to the seating area(s). This must be controlled by staff who have been instructed in the process and there must be measures put in place to ensure that a person cannot gain access without being checked. Before a customer is granted access to the indoor seating area, they must have had their proof of immunity checked for validity and cross checked against their presented form of photo ID.
- Contact Tracing: Businesses must take the name and number of the lead person (in respect of a group) or the solo person for contact tracing purposes. These details must be retained for 28 days.
- Group Sizes: A maximum of 6 persons above 13 years of age are permitted at a table. However, this limit does not include those under 13 years of age. The total combined capacity at a table cannot exceed 15 people overall with a maximum 6 of these being above 13 years.
- Time Limits & Bookings: There is no longer a requirement to have 105-minute time limits in place for customers. Pre-booking is also not required, though businesses may choose to put such a system in place.
- Physical Distancing: A 2-metre distance should be kept between tables. However, as Restaurants, Cafés, Pubs, Hotels, etc. are considered “controlled environments”, they may reduce physical distancing from 2 metres to 1 metre where the “risk mitigation requirements” outlined in Appendix 1 of the Fáilte Ireland Guidelines have been met.
- Service Type: Only table service is permitted.
- Face Masks: Customers must wear face masks when moving around the outdoor area or using indoor facilities. Employees must wear face masks at all times.
- Closing Time: Every premises must be clear of customers by 11:30pm.
6 – Enforcement
The HSE or HSA (or such other body prescribed by the Minister for Health) are to designate “compliance officers” who will be permitted without warrant to enter hotels, bars and restaurants to inspect whether an indoor operator is complying with the various conditions for reopening.
Anyone who prevents or obstructs (or attempts to) a compliance officer from entering is guilty of an offence and liable to a €2,500 fine on summary conviction.
For full details on enforcement and the powers of compliance officers, please see our previous article on this matter which is available here.
At the time of going to print, a copy of the regulations was not available. This document will be updated once same has been made available.
This document is intended to provide a general overview and guidance on a particular topic. It is provided wholly without any liability or responsibility on the part of Compton Solicitors and does not replace the necessity to obtain specific legal advice.
Please contact Lorraine Compton or Fiona Tonge for more information: –
- Lorraine Compton on 086 – 253 4651 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Fiona Tonge on 089 – 471 4128 or email@example.com