Plans for the partial reopening of indoor dining will be signed off on by Cabinet today.
People who are fully vaccinated or have recently recovered from COVID will be permitted to eat and drink indoors, under the proposals.
Unvaccinated children will also be allowed indoors provided they are accompanied by an adult who is vaccinated or has recently recovered.
Government hopes to pass the legislation through the Dáil and Seanad by the end of the week.
The re-opening is expected to go ahead on July 26th; however, the Restaurants Association of Ireland CEO Adrian Cummins told Newstalk that date is not yet set in stone.
“While no date has been given yet it is ranging from where we would like to see indoor dining opened on the 19th to as far as the 26th – but it could be any day in between those two dates.”
He said it was essential that families be allowed to eat together as the holiday season gets into full swing.
“It is a matter for public health but solutions have been put on the table which we believe are workable so that families can dine indoors especially during the summer months where people will be on their staycations across the country,” he said.
“It is important we give them the opportunity to dine as a family unit indoors.”
Meanwhile, the Vintners Federation of Ireland CEO Padraig Cribben said normal service must resume in the autumn.
“We believe there should be a sunset clause in this legislation and these measures should not be required any longer than the end of August beginning of September when all of the adult population has been offered a vaccine,” he said.
He said the plan is not the preferred option of the VFI – but said it is better than remaining closed.
“There is a lot of mixed feeling but by and large people are realising that it’s is either this or there won’t be an option to trade until September or October,” he said.
“It is not in any way our preferred option but it is either this or be closed for another six to eight weeks after being closed for 16 months and that is not something that anyone wants to contemplate.”
Under the plans, restaurants are likely to ask people to present a so-called ‘corona pass’ to prove they are vaccinated or recovered.
Some countries across Europe are running a similar system for indoor dining – however, they all permit people to eat inside if they sit a negative antigen test.
The legislation before Cabinet today references the enhanced role antigen testing could play in hospitality later in the year.