28 May 2022

Decision on lifting of pub and restaurant restrictions expected this week

Decision on lifting of pub and restaurant restrictions expected this week

Restrictions for pubs, restaurants and music venues could be lifted in the coming weeks, as the peak of the Omicron variant appears to have been reached. 

NPHET is set to meet on Thursday with speculation that the Government might sign off on changes on Friday. 

Some of these are expected to include changes to the 8pm closing time for bars and restaurants. Other changes could see an increase in the number of people allowed to attend both indoor and outdoor events.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland earlier, Dr Mary Favier said a balance of restrictions will be needed going forward. She said changing these restrictions will be important because people need to get back to their lives.

She said from a GP perspective, easing restrictions so people can attend surgeries more easily would be welcome.

There has been a significant difference in Covid cases over the last two weeks and presentations have substantially reduced, The Cork-based GP noted.

The restrictions imposed before Christmas were "entirely appropriate", she said, because there was not a great understanding of the Omicron variant.

Other anticipated changes could see a larger number people be allowed to attend weddings soon, while a gradual return to the workplace might get under way at some point next month.

There is also speculation that outdoor sports venues could return to full capacity.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said last week that businesses would be given plenty of notice this time about the forthcoming changes to the rules.

Adrian Cummins, CEO of Restaurants Association Ireland, said that he would like the lifting of measures to take effect once NPHET meets on Thursday, allowing the industry to reopen fully next week.

He said that the 8pm closing time was “effectively a lockdown for hospitality”.

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