The draft guidelines for the return of indoor hospitality on Monday were finally published late last night.
The rules were announced shortly before midnight, just over 48 hours before indoor dining and drinking are allowed to resume for the first time this year.
Only guests who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or those who have recovered from the virus, as well as their children, will be allowed entry.
Only six people aged over 13 will be allowed at a table in a pub or restaurant, and the combined total of people sitting at a table cannot exceed 15 overall.
On entry to a premises, there must be "a defined, managed and supervised entrance point with an appropriate queue management system within the business or at point of entry to seating areas, that is controlled by personnel who have been instructed in the process".
Adults must have proof of immunity, such as an EU Digital COVID Cert, and photo ID.
Face-coverings must be worn at all times by customers, other than when seated at their table.
If a customer leaves the premises for any reason, they must inform a staff member before re-entry.
Closing time will be 11.30pm and there will be no counter service, but there will be no time limit for customers.
There should be two metres between tables, and one metre between people seated at the tables.
Contact tracing must be in place for all adult guests, with their names and details taken.
The operational guidelines were developed by Government officials and Fáilte Ireland in consultation with the hospitality representative bodies and are expected to be signed off tomorrow.
Jenny De Saulles, Director of Sector Development at Fáilte Ireland, said the new guidelines are a "critical part in helping tourism businesses safely re-open for indoor hospitality".
“Throughout this crisis, we have been working with tourism and hospitality businesses and with Government to provide the businesses with the practical guidance and supports they need," she said.
"The next phase of recovery is the reopening of indoor hospitality and renewing its vital contribution to job creation and regional development."
🚨Indoor Dining from Monday 26th July
🟢Proof of immunity checks
🟢Contact tracing - info needed for all adult diners
🟢Max 6 adults per table
🟢No counter service
🟢Face coverings when not seated
Sample posters for public display can be found here:https://t.co/zGlMUO26IC pic.twitter.com/BZmPh7mEYD
— Restaurants Association of Ireland (@RAI_ie) July 23, 2021
Government Ministers have also welcomed the publication of the rules, with Tánaiste Leo Varadkar saying the restrictions being applied for indoor hospitality are designed as "a temporary measure".
"As a first step in this reopening, businesses will allow entry to people who are vaccinated or recovered from COVID in the past six months, as well as children under 18 in their care," he said.
"The restrictions being applied to this reopening are designed to be a temporary measure, and hugely important for the sector and their customers.
"I know that operating this new system will be inconvenient for business and could add to staff costs. It is, however, the only way we can re-open and stay open throughout this Delta wave.
"Hopefully, it will not be necessary in a few months’ time but it is good to have it in place in case it is. There will be teething problems and we will work with the industry to review and amend the regulations as needed and based on practical experience.”
Mr Varadkar added that the Digital COVID Certificate will be the primary proof used when going into a pub, restaurant or café to access indoor hospitality and that other forms of evidence will be set out in the regulations.
“The Irish public have shown great solidarity and dedication throughout the pandemic. As we take another step in reopening society, I encourage everyone to play their part in ensuring that the new requirements work for public health, for businesses and customers alike," he said.
Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin stated "the 'Céad Míle Fáilte' will be much in evidence from Monday onward" as businesses welcome back customers.
She urged people to show patience and understanding as businesses and their staff get used to the new requirements.