While it will be Friday before we officially learn whether indoor hospitality can re-commence as early as July 1, a detailed list of Covid-19 safety guidelines were issued today.
From next Wednesday, June 2, accommodation services including hotels, B&Bs, self-catering and hostels can reopen but services must be restricted to overnight guests and residents.
The latest detailed guidelines, issued by Bord Fáilte, with government approval, indicate what Donegal people and visitors to the county will and will not be permitted to do when outdoor hospitality returns from next week and after that, indoor hospitality in July.
The requirement for a €9 meal has also been dropped and only table service will be allowed both inside and outside.
The new measures will allow six people at a single table, but when accompanying children, this can go up to 15 people.
However, multiple booking of tables will not be allowed and no social gatherings will be permitted indoors. Ventilation requirements in both settings will also be a major criteria in the weeks ahead.
There will be no limit on how long customers can remain eating and drinking outdoors, nor will there be a limit on the customers' duration indoors where tables are at least two metres apart.
But all areas will have to be cleared of customers by 11.30pm.
A table will have to be at least one metres from the next but there will be a time limit of one hour and 45 minutes if just separated by a metre indoors.
If expanded by an extra metre, there will be no time limitation, provided all other public health criteria are adhered to.
The regulations also state that physical distancing of two metres should be maintained between tables.
However, if this is not possible, this can be reduced to one metre in controlled environments if all of the other risk mitigations requirements outlined have been met and pre-booked time-limited slots are in place, which are a maximum of 1 hour 45 minutes duration.
There should be a minimum of 15 minutes between bookings in order to allow for adequate cleaning and to allow customers to leave and enter, without mixing.
From June 2, food and beverage facilities indoors will initially only be available for residents of hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs. It will also apply from June 7 to restaurants, pubs and cafés able to resume outdoor service.
Businesses must also put in place a plan and take appropriate measures to control noise levels, to ensure volumes do not rise to a level where people are required to take such measures to hear others. No live or loud music will be permitted.
As with last year, contact tracing will also have to be adhered to.
And customers will be required to wear face coverings when moving around and employees will be required to wear them at all times.
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