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29/07/2021

Taoiseach confirms delay to re-opening of indoor hospitality

VFI say decision has left the pub trade reeling

Dismay in Donegal

An Taoiseach Micheál Martin made his 15th address to the nation this lunchtime

There's dismay in the hospitality industry across Limerick after the date of indoor re-openings of pubs and restaurants was put back amid fears of the new Covid-19 Delta variant.

In an announcement this lunchtime, An Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed there will be no indoor re-opening as was originally anticipated next Monday, July 5.

It’s left local publicans and restaurant owners counting the cost. 

In a statement, the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) said it emphatically rejects NPHET advice to Government that only the fully vaccinated should be admitted to indoor hospitality venues.

The VFI says the plan is unworkable and that it will only increase pressure on publicans and their staff. 

Padraig Cribben, VFI Chief Executive, said: “The idea that only allowing the fully vaccinated into hospitality venues is highly problematic and probably unworkable for a number of reasons, not least how do publicans and their staff police such a policy?

"Government has consistently stated it would not introduce this type of measure so for it now to change course has left the pub trade reeling."

Mr Martin said Ireland is “in a race between the variant and vaccine ... and we want to do everything we can to ensure the vaccines win".

Mr Martin said that over the course of the last number of weeks concern has been growing over the prevalence, nature, and risk associated with the Delta variant of Covid-19.

He said it is clearly more transmissible - 55% more than the last variant, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention.

He said that tremendous progress is being made in the vaccine programme and careful, staged reopening of society with people's co-operation is working.

Mr Martin said that the reopening of indoor hospitality will be limited to those fully vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19 infection.

Organised events

There was better news from Mr Martin in terms of other organised events.

As planned, numbers at these can increase to 200 or 500 for stadiums or venues with a capacity of over 5,000.

Attendance at wedding receptions can go up to 50 guests as an exception.

But indoor activities will not proceed as planned, pending the implementation of a system to verify vaccination or immunity.

Government said it will devise an implementation plan by July 19.

There will be no limit on the number of people who can visit together if they are all fully protected by vaccination or have recovered from Covid-19 infection in the previous nine months.

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