Michael Staines
Michael Staines

08.01 25 May 2021


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There is expected to be time limits on visits to pubs and restaurants when indoor dining returns.

Fáilte Ireland will this afternoon publish its guidelines for the return of hospitality both outdoors and indoors.

They are being published ahead of the latest announcement on easing restrictions, due to take place after Friday’s Cabinet meeting.

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Under the guidelines, tables are expected to be a minimum of one metre apart, both indoors and outdoors.

There is likely to be a maximum of six people to a table; and the number of people permitted inside will be based on the size of the establishment.

Meanwhile, last year’s €9 ‘substantial meal’ rules is set to be scrapped.

The main difference between indoor and outdoor will be time limits on visits – with indoor diners expected to be limited to a timed sitting.

On Newstalk Breakfast his morning the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) CEO Adrian Cummins said businesses are looking forward to getting going.

“The indications are that the guidelines will be, there or thereabouts, the same as last year for indoor hospitality but the difference for outdoor hospitality will be that there will be no time limits for people,” he said.

“Last year it worked really well for food businesses. The guidelines, we implemented them as best we could and we are looking forward to these being published so people can start to plan and prepare for reopening when we get a date to reopen restaurants, gastropubs and coffeeshops across the country.”

He welcomed the one-metre space between tables – noting that anything bigger would leave many businesses unviable.

“We always said that one metre is a viable space for hospitality but two metres is not viable at all because you lose nearly 75% of your space within a business,” he said.

“At one metre, you still lose space. You lose about 25% of your space within a restaurant. That is a loss of income; that puts a lot of pressure on a business to operate viably.

“These guidelines, we implemented them last year and they worked well for those businesses in the food industry.”

Mr Cummins said rules permitting hotels to serve food indoors from next week should be extended to all restaurants.

“Obviously, we know hotels are going to open on June 2nd next week for indoors,” he said.

“We would like to open in line with hotels because there is no difference between a hotel restaurant and an independent restaurant next door to them.”

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