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Indoor dining reopens today - here's what you need to know

Bars, restaurants and cafés across the country can open their doors for indoor dining for the fi...
Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

06.36 26 Jul 2021


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Indoor dining reopens today -...

Indoor dining reopens today - here's what you need to know

Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

06.36 26 Jul 2021


Share this article


Bars, restaurants and cafés across the country can open their doors for indoor dining for the first time since December.

Only those who have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 will be allowed to avail of indoor service.

It comes after a delay of several weeks to the initial reopening date, as officials worked on plans and legislation around the reopening.

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So-called 'wet pubs' in Dublin are now allowed reopen for the first time since March 2020.

Donal O'Keeffe, Chief Executive of the Licensed Vintners Association, said it's a day of "relief, hope and nervousness" for the sector.

Here are some of the key rules in place for the reopening:

  • Only adults who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or those who have recovered from the virus will be allowed to dine indoors
  • Children are also allowed to dine indoors, if accompanied by a fully vaccinated adult
  • Staff will need to check "proof of immunity" for each diner - such as an EU COVID cert or HSE vaccine record - and cross-check that with a photo ID
  • Outdoor dining remains open for everyone, regardless of vaccination status
  • A maximum of six people aged over 13 will be allowed at a table, although up to nine children can join them (meaning a maximum of 15 people - six adults and nine children - at one table)
  • There will be no bar or counter service allowed, meaning table service only
  • Restaurants and pubs must close at 11:30pm
  • There will be no time limit for customers at a table - meaning diners will no longer be restricted to 105-minutes per meal, as was the case in previous reopenings. The 'substantial meal' rule has also been scrapped
  • It was expected that contact tracing for all adult guests would be a requirement - however, a list minute change means only one person per group will need to give their details
  • There should be two metres between each table, although it can be reduced to one metre if other risk management measures are taken
  • Masks must be worn by customers when they're not seated at their table, and by employees at all times
  • No live music or entertainment is allowed in pubs or restaurants
  • 'Walk-in' diners are allowed, although all restaurants are being told to ensure they have a proper queue management system in place

There's also an increased focus on ventilation for this reopening, with new advice in place around airflow, air extraction systems and CO2 monitors.

The reopening does not include the likes of nightclubs, discos and casinos - all of which remain closed for now.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said there's unlikely to be any further major easing of restrictions in the next few weeks, amid concerns over rising COVID-19 cases and the Delta variant.

Main image: Waiter sets a table inside the Ely wine Bar, on Ely place in Dublin, ahead of reopening. Picture by: Damien Eagers/PA Wire/PA Images

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