1,345 new Covid-19 cases confirmed as indoor dining in pubs and restaurants returns

1,345 new Covid-19 cases confirmed as indoor dining in pubs and restaurants returns

Jimmy Nooks enjoys a pint of Guinness in Slattery's Bar on Capel Street in Dublin as indoor dining in pubs and restaurants reopened across the Republic today.

There have been an additional 1,345 cases of Covid-19 confirmed this evening as indoor dining in pubs and restaurants reopened across the Republic.

141 people are now being treated for the virus in Irish hospitals with 25 of those in intensive care units. 

The vast majority (87%) of today's confirmed cases are in those under the age of 45.

No information on Covid-related deaths is available as a result of the cyberattack on the health service's IT systems earlier this summer. 

A county-by-county breakdown of Covid cases was not provided with today's figures, but Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said they are currently experiencing high incidence of COVID-19 across many counties. 

"There has been a significant increase in hospitalisation over the last fortnight," he added.

“Please continue to avoid crowded spaces, keep distance from others, keep indoor settings well ventilated by opening windows and doors, wear a mask where appropriate.”

Indoor dining returns 

While the number of cases continues to rise, the country took a significant step forward on the pathway back to normality today as pubs and restaurants across the country began reopening their doors to customers.

The final guidelines for the return of indoor dining were signed off by Government late last night.

 Jim Whelan with a pint of Guinness from barman Damian Ellis in Nesbitt pub in Dublin. 
Jim Whelan with a pint of Guinness from barman Damian Ellis in Nesbitt pub in Dublin. 

For many pubs it will be the first time they have opened since March 2020.

Under the current rules, indoor dining is open for the fully vaccinated and those who have had Covid-19 in the last six months. Those under 18 can also attend along with families or guardians who are vaccinated. 

A maximum of six people over the age of 13 are allowed at one table. This limit does not include children aged 12 or younger however, the overall capacity at one table cannot exceed 15.

Patrons will be required to produce a copy of a Covid certificate to show they are either fully vaccinated or have recovered from the virus in the last six months.

The EU Digital Covid Certificate (DCC) or the HSE Covid-19 Vaccination Record can be used for proof of vaccination status when entering pubs, restaurants, cafes or food courts.

There are no time limits on indoor dining but premises must be clear of all customers by 11.30pm.

Jim O'Neill and Pat Wood welcome the return of indoor dining
Jim O'Neill and Pat Wood welcome the return of indoor dining

More than 3,000 pubs reopened on Monday, with 25,000 staff signing off the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) and heading back to work.

Mick Ryan, owner of Ha’penny Bridge Inn in Temple Bar welcomed customers indoors for first time since the start of the pandemic.

However, Mr Ryan, who has owned the Dublin pub for 31 years, said he is struggling to hire staff.

“We can’t get someone on the door checking people in, so we will have to go in and out checking it ourselves.

“We have four staff, but we used to have six.

“We have no cleaners – we can’t get the cleaning contractor back because they have no staff, so we are doing the cleaning ourselves."

Mr Ryan said pubs and restaurants across the country are struggling to recruit.

“We have a bar upstairs that we spent 150,000 euro renovating before the lockdown that was never opened.”

Waiter Niven Bodi Reddy sets a table inside the Ely wine bar in Dublin. 
Waiter Niven Bodi Reddy sets a table inside the Ely wine bar in Dublin. 

Meanwhile, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has urged the public to remain careful in the coming weeks.

“We have made good progress in the last six months in reopening sectors of society, so we want to protect that progress,” he said.

“Even though we are reopening indoor dining, we still have to be very, very careful.

“There’s a Delta variant that is highly transmissible and we have to protect ourselves.

“The ideal scenario is a continued rollout of the vaccination programme, combined with sensible, precautionary behaviour on all our part. That’s where we can defeat this virus.”

Padraig Cribben, Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) chief executive, said: “It’s a big day for the trade, especially when you consider some of our members were closed for over 16 months.

“Unfortunately, the new guidelines Government handed down to us will make it very difficult for publicans and staff to manage their indoor businesses.

“Our message to customers is simple: Please work with us as we get used to these new guidelines.”

More than 5.5 million doses of the Covid-19 have now been administered across Ireland.

Almost 70% of the population is now fully vaccinated, with almost 80% having received at least one dose.

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