Compliance with COVID rules in pubs and restaurants is “far higher” than ESRI research suggests, according to the Restaurants Association of Ireland.
An ESRI survey published on Friday found that 37% of customers in pubs and 34% in restaurants are not being asked for their COVID certs.
It found that one-in-five customers are now taking precautions like mask-wearing less than half the time.
Respondents also said that, while they themselves are following the guidelines, their sense that others were doing so had “dropped significantly.”
Government officials will today meet with representatives of the hospitality sector to discuss the findings.
Ahead of the meeting, the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) CEO Adrian Cummins disputed the findings.
“Our evidence on the ground on a face-to-face basis with the businesses we know and we have gone in to suggests compliance is far higher than what the ESRI is saying,” he said.
“This was an online survey. This was not a qualitative direct face-to-face live inspection of businesses.
“The people that will give you the exact results are the inspectors.”
Mr Cummins said there is no basis for increasing restrictions on the sector and called for clarity on how long the COVID pass system will remain in place.
“It is vital that we keep the economy open fully and there is no going back as the politicians have said to us already, but we also need to protect public health at all times,” he said.
“We have always said we would implement the COVID pass but we also need to find out at what percentage of the overall needs to be vaccinated for the COVID pass to be stood down.”
A further 3,161 COVID cases were announced last night, with the five-day moving average now sitting at 3,440.
Yesterday morning, there were 498 coronavirus patients in Irish hospitals – down 17 on the same day last week.
There were 78 in intensive care, which was 13 fewer than the same day last week.
World Health Organisation Special Envoy Dr David Nabarro told Newstalk that the ‘substantial’ rise in cases in recent weeks is a cause for concern.
“The situation in Ireland is once again a cause of concern,” he said.
“That is because this rise that you have got in cases is now quite substantial over the last week.
“This rise in cases is having a big impact on hospitals. Not only are there many people with COVID in hospital but these COVID patients are impacting on the capacity of hospitals to deal with non-urgent procedures.”
The Chief Medical Officer is encouraging people to continue to follow basic public health measures throughout the winter – including handwashing, opening windows and staying at home when they have symptoms.