Restaurants, cafés and bars can reopen their doors for indoor eating and drinking today, operating under strict new public health regulations.
Operational guidelines for the hospitality industry were updated by Fáilte Ireland last night.
While businesses providing indoor hospitality are being asked to implement specified protective measures, customers will also be asked to play their part in ensuring a safe environment for both themselves and the employees serving them.
Here are five things you need to know as indoor hospitality reopens.
What is required to dine or drink indoors?
All adults need proof that they have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or have recovered from the disease in the past six months.
You are considered fully vaccinated one week after your second Pfizer jab, two weeks after your second shot of Moderna or AstraZeneca and two weeks after your single-dose Janssen vaccine.
The Digital Covid Cert (DCC) will be the primary evidence for proof of immunity when going into a pub, restaurant, café or food court to access indoor hospitality.
People who received a vaccine in a vaccination centre will have their cert emailed to them. People vaccinated by a GP, pharmacy or hospital, should get their cert in the post.
The helpline number for people having problems accessing their DCC is 1800 807 008. But if you don’t have one, the HSE vaccination card is also allowed as proof of immunity for indoor dining.
A cert to prove you have recovered from Covid-19 can be requested online here. You can seek a certificate if you have had a positive PCR test more than 11 days ago and less than 180 days ago and gov.ie states you will get the cert by email within five days once it has a record of the test.
Proof of ID (such as a passport or driving licence) will also be necessary to present at the door of the premises alongside your proof of immunity.
There are different rules for those under the age of 18. Children do not need proof of vaccination when accompanied by a parent or guardian.
However, young people may be asked for photo ID to prove they are under 18 before they are allowed to enter the premises with a permitted person.
Do I still need to give my contact details?
Yes, if you are dining or drinking solo but if you are part of a group, only the designated lead person has to provide their name and number.
This is a change to earlier draft guidelines in which everyone in the party had to provide their contact details.
Under 18s are not required to provide this information.
Contact details are taken once proof of immunity checks are complete for each person being admitted.
Details will be retained for 28 days by the business and must be compliant with GDPR. This information must be recorded for both walk-ins and pre-bookings.
What are the rules once you are inside?
There will be no time limit on the amount of time people can sit at a table under the regulations (some restaurants may choose to implement one) but premises must be clear of all customers by 11.30pm.
A maximum of six persons aged 13 or over are permitted at a table. This limit of six does not include accompanying children aged 12 or younger.
The total combined capacity at a table cannot exceed 15 overall.
Customers can avail of table service only and may not approach or order from the bar or other counter. Face coverings must be worn at all times other than when seated at their table.
If a customer leaves the premises (to access a smoking area, for example) they will have to notify a staff member. The guidelines suggest they are supplied with a pass, to be returned or checked on re-entry.
How do I know if a premises is safe?
The Health and Safety Authority and HSE have been designated in the legislation as having a role in assessing compliance.
But ultimately, people are urged to use their own judgment and leave if they do not feel the business is adhering to public health guidelines.
“As a customer, you should raise your concerns with the business first and if you’re not happy, going to another premises sends a strong signal,” according to the Government statement on reopening hospitality.
Not every restaurant will reopen
Salivating at the thought of returning to your favourite local eating place? The bad news is, it may not be able to welcome you back just yet.
Restaurants Association of Ireland CEO Adrian Cummins has warned that a quarter of Irish businesses will not reopen for indoor dining immediately.
A lack of staff is the “single biggest issue” for the hospitality sector, he said.
Mr Cummins also warned that the sector may need to renegotiate the guidelines for the reopening of indoor hospitality if they are found to be “not working properly”.