Sinn Féin spokesperson on Tourism Imelda Munster TD has welcomed the publication of Fáilte Ireland’s guidelines for the reopening of the hospitality sector, but expressed concern at the inclusion of an 105-minute time limit on sittings for indoor dining.
Teachta Munster said:
“I am happy to see that the guidelines have been published. It is very important that the hospitality sector can plan ahead for how their businesses can reopen safely for the summer season.
“I am concerned, however, to see the return of a 105-minute time limit on sittings for indoor dining.
“We still do not have a reopening date for indoor dining, however it is expected to be in the middle of July.
“By then, we are told that 80% of the adult population will have received at least one vaccine, so I cannot see the logic of the time limits.
“Last year, the time limits were reasonable and proper, as nobody was vaccinated but there is no justification for them this year.
“We have been repeatedly told by the government that there would be no time limit this time around, yet it has been reintroduced today.
“The public health advice and data that informed this decision needs to be published.
“It makes no sense that hotels can offer indoor dining from June 2nd with no time limits, whereas a restaurant or a pub next door to that hotel will have to impose time limits whenever they can resume indoor operations.
“There is a lot to welcome in these guidelines, such as the focus on ventilation of spaces and hygiene practices, the end of the need for a €9 substantial meal, and the restrictions on numbers of parties sitting down for a meal. These are all reasonable.
“But I will be querying the matter of the time limit with Minister Catherine Martin as a matter of urgency.”