Written answers

Thursday, 6 May 2021

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary, Independent)
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161. To ask the Minister for Health if he will publish the medical and scientific evidence available to him to justify the reason a hotel restaurant is safer than that of a regular restaurant or gastropub when hotel restaurants are allowed to reopen on 2 June 2021 but other restaurants will not reopen in July; the medical and scientific reasoning for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23318/21]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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There has been considerable progress in reducing infection levels since the peak of the wave of infection in late 2020/early 2021 because of the widespread commitment and adherence by the public to the public health measures in place. While there is still a high level of infection nationally, the situation is considered reasonably stable and significant progress is being made in relation to the roll-out of our vaccination programme.

In recognition of the improving situation, the Government announced a roadmap on the 29 April for the gradual lifting of some restrictions over the next two months, with a particular focus on allowing more outdoor activities. A range of measures will be eased in May, with a further easing of measures in June subject to the epidemiological situation at the time.

It is important to note that while there is now scope to ease public health measures, the approach must continue to be cautious, gradual and on a phased basis, with sufficient time between any easing of measures to assess the impact. This will be critical to ensuring the protection of the gains of recent months, the protection of those most vulnerable, and the protection of health and social care, education, and childcare services.

As part of the plans announced by Government last week, a phased reopening of the hospitality sector is envisaged. From 2 June, accommodation services can reopen and from 7 June outdoor services in restaurants and bars can resume. The resumption of indoor hospitality more broadly will be considered at the end of June. As set out above, there is still a high level of infection nationally, therefore this phased approach is recommended to ensure that reopening is sustainable.

It is important to note that indoor restaurant and bar services within hotels and other accommodation facilities must be restricted to overnight guests/residents only. This is currently the case for those staying in these facilities for essential purposes and is also in line with previous practice for these facilities during periods of Level 3 restrictions.

Significant progress has been made on suppressing the virus over recent months due to the huge effort of people across the country. By working together, we have saved lives and limited the impact of the disease on society in Ireland. We all must continue to do everything possible to continue to avoid the virus spreading and to support the safe reopening of activities over the coming months.


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