Irelands pubs and restaurants are calling on the Taoiseach to announce a clear roadmap for reopening when he addresses the nation this evening.
The reopening plan to be announced this evening is expected to be extremely cautious after health officials last night offered a stark warning about the risks of a fourth wave.
Under the plans being considered by Cabinet this afternoon, people will be able to travel anywhere within their own county from April 12th.
Outdoor meetups between two households will resume on the same day; however, sports like golf and tennis will need to wait until the end of the month.
The Taoiseach Micheál Martin will address the nation once the plan has been approved and is expected to use the speech to outline what May, June and July might look like.
In a statement, the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) said the Government must set out what needs to happen for indoor dining to resume.
The group said it understands that a clear date may not be possible; however, it said the Government must outline what case numbers, hospitalisation figures and vaccination targets must be met to allow the industry to reopen.
RAI Chief Executive Adrian Cummins said more than half the country’s restaurants are on the brink of collapse.
“We trust the medical advisors,” he said. “We do not want to open before it is safe to do so.
“What we are asking for is the metrics. What is the plan that will allow us to see the light at the end of the tunnel?”
“Our members, our sector and to be frank every citizen is asking for this and, having played their part to suppress this virus, through grit and sacrifice, they deserve it.”
The many 1000s @LVADublinPubs @VFIpubs who've been left in limbo for the best part of a year,today deserve some semblance of hope,a way forward. Not even a date but even some clarity as to #whatstheplan
Secondly,pubs can't be differentiated between,we all need to #opentogether https://t.co/OdT27GWSfR
— Bren Kelly (@BrenKelly3) March 30, 2021
Meanwhile, the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) said the Government has a responsibility to offer hope to people and businesses across the country after the “longest, most severe hospitality lockdown in Europe.”
LVA Chief Executive Donall O’Keeffe said more than a third of Dublin’s pubs have now been closed for 379 days.
“After such an extended closure, the Government has a duty of care to provide a pathway forward for the hundreds of thousands of people employed by these sectors,” he said. “They can’t be left in perpetual lockdown.
“As we move into the second quarter of the year, surely it is time that the Government started sharing their broad plans with the rest of the country. We need hope. Hope is the glue that binds the current social contract and it needs to be tended to.”
He said a plan that includes targets for vaccinations and community transmission figures is, “the least the people who are dependent on these sectors deserve.”
Mr Cummins warned that the reopening of indoor dining must remain the number one priority – noting that outdoor dining is not possible for huge numbers of restaurants.
He outlined the RAI's stance on the Pat Kenny Show this morning: