Written answers

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

Covid-19 Pandemic

Photo of Peadar TóibínPeadar Tóibín (Meath West, Aontú)
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11. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the reason pubs and restaurants are not reopening for indoor dining at the same time that hotels are reopening for indoor dining. [29369/21]

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Dublin West, Fine Gael)
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The Government has approved measures, based on public health advice, allowing for the planned reopening of the hospitality sector, this summer. As the roll out of the vaccination programme progresses over the coming months, restrictions can be relaxed which will enable the hospitality sector to open up on a phased and safe basis, to avoid losing the progress society has made over the last 6 months.

From 2nd June, hotels can reopen for overnight guests and provide indoor restaurant service, followed by outdoor service at restaurants and pubs from 7th June. On 5th July, bars and restaurants will be able to serve customers indoors again. 

This approach is in line with NPHET advice. We have never closed hotels' dining rooms. During level 5, when we were all locked down at home, hotels remained open for essential reasons, such as for people who had to stay there because they had nowhere else to stay, and we never closed their restaurants or dining rooms. 

The Government is conscious of the challenges faced by the hospitality sector and, in particular, for pubs and bars that do not serve food. This phased reopening supports a safe and gradual approach, for employers, employees, and customers, underpinned by the guidance in the Work Safety Protocol and the sectoral Guidance developed by Fáilte Ireland.

Our pubs and bars are an important economic driver, social outlet and a popular element of our tourism and hospitality offering. My colleague, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD, has announced new outdoor service supports for the hospitality industry. The Outdoor Dining Enhancement Scheme provides assistance to transform appropriate outdoor spaces as welcoming vibrant places, helping businesses to recover and people to return to work. To help the sector reopen successfully, for businesses reopening in June and coming off the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS), there will be a payment on reopening, as a double payment for three weeks. 

In addition, Fáilte Ireland has developed a suite of comprehensive sectoral guidances for the re-opening of hospitality and tourism businesses, these are available on their website.

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