Jack Quann
Jack Quann

15.39 26 May 2021


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The head of the Restaurants Association of Ireland has said they will implement guidelines for the hospitality sector - but they want changes.

Adrian Cummins was responding to the Fáilte Ireland guidelines, which will see restaurants needing to stick to a maximum of six adults and nine children per table.

A time limit of 105 minutes will apply when indoor restaurants re-open, but only when there is not two metres social distancing.

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While there will be no time limit for outdoor tables.

And the limit of six people at an outdoor table does not include accompanying children aged 12 or younger.

While all restaurants and pubs must be "clear of patrons" by 11:30 pm, and no live music will be permitted.

He told Lunchtime Live they want to change the guidelines, but will do it from the inside out.

"Everything that we expected, based on the media reports, is in the guidelines.

"There will be an issue around the 105 minutes for businesses, this issue around one metre/two metres - that is going to affect a substantial number of businesses.

"The guidelines are out there, we can start to amend them as we get re-opened, and we can start negotiating with Government.

"We want to get our doors open and get up and trading, that's the most important thing now".

He said generally speaking, opening a small business with a two metre gap between tables "isn't viable".

He said he understands perspex screens and dividers would be allowed, as per the last restrictions.

"But the most important thing here is the guidelines now prove there's no difference between hotels and the rest of hospitality.

"That's the one that stood out straight when I read them this morning."

Mr Cummins said this is a "big bone of contention" for his members, and they are already fielding "waves" of phone calls on it.

'Outdoor space definition'

He said the definition of an 'outdoor space' shows the sector should have been consulted about the guidelines.

An outdoor area must not be wholly or substantially enclosed - which means it must not have sides that enclose more than 50% of the perimeter.

Under these guidelines, a marquee or gazebo with a roof and four sides would not be an outdoor space.

"The guidelines should have been consulted with the industry well in advance - we knew this was coming down the track, there was no consultation with the sector, and we were very clear that we should have been involved in the dawning up of these guidelines from the word go".

And he questioned where the 'vaccine bonus' will be when the sector re-opens.

"You're going to hear this narrative over the next 48 hours I'm sure: what is the vaccine bonus?

"So we're very clear on this - that we'll get to a certain percentage of the population that is vaccinated.

"We need to a see a delivery of the vaccine bonus, and that means going back to normality for all sectors.

"If your country is vaccinated fully - and fully is 80% of the population - then we need to see at least all sectors re-open in a normal capacity.

"When do we see nightclubs open, when do we see other parts of the industry re-open, live music venues, all of that.

"So there's a lot of discussion that has to happen and we would appeal to the Government... that they need to directly talk to the industry when they are starting to renegotiate those guidelines into the future".

Main image: Chief executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, Adrian Cummins, arriving for an Oireachtas Special Committee on Covid-19 Response in 2020. Picture by: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

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Adrian Cummins Failte Ireland Fáilte Ireland Guidelines Outdoor Space Definition Re-opening Restaurants Restaurant Guidelines

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