Q&A: All you need to know about hospitality reopening

What rules now apply on indoor dining and what is the situation with weddings in hotels?

The Cabinet will decide on Friday when indoor dining will resume. File photograph: Getty

The Cabinet will decide on Friday when indoor dining will resume. File photograph: Getty

 

What are these guidelines and why have they come out now?

Ahead of the hospitality sector’s reopening, Fáilte Ireland has devised guidelines to help businesses plan for the coming months and protect employees and customers at a time when the pandemic remains with us. Pubs, restaurants and cafes have been asking for the guidance as hotels will reopen on June 2nd and outdoor hospitality will resume on June 7th. It is expected indoor hospitality will resume some time in July.

What does this mean for my next trip to a hotel?

If you have made a reservation in a hotel from June 2nd, you can dine indoors as long as you are a resident. If you are at the hotel bar or in the restaurant, and there is a distance of only 1m between tables, you will have to pre-book and there will be a time limit of 105 minutes. If this is expanded to 2m between tables you will not have to pre-book and a time limit may not apply.

What does this mean for my next outdoor restaurant or pub booking?

If you have made a booking from June 7th, the following rules will apply. The distance between tables will be at least 1m. There will be a limit of six people aged 13 or over per table. This limit does not include accompanying children aged 12 or younger. Including children, the maximum booking is for 15 people. It will be up to the establishment to decide if there are time limits or not. Furthermore, the guidelines state that any premises serving food and drink must be clear of all patrons by 11:30pm.

What about indoor dining?

The Cabinet will decide on Friday when indoor dining will resume. Under the current guidelines, if there is only 1m between tables indoors then you must pre-book and a time limit of 105 minutes will be put in place, plus 15 minutes for cleaning. If the space between tables is expanded to 2m, you won’t have to pre-book and there won’t be a time limit.

Will I still have to purchase a “substantial meal” when I go to the pub?

Thankfully not.

What is the situation with weddings in hotels?

From May 10th, 50 guests can attend the ceremony itself and 15 guests can attend the reception if it is outdoors or six if it is indoors, exclusive of the bride, groom and staff. A photographer is also permitted and the reception must be a sit-down meal only. Live music and dancing is not permitted.

I’ve heard a lot of the importance of ventilation recently, do the guidelines put any rules in place on this?

Yes and the guidelines are quite simple: either open a window or use a mechanical ventilation system. The document says that it is important to maximise ventilation in areas where people are in close contact. “While large droplets containing the virus will settle on to the surrounding surfaces within seconds, smaller particles containing the virus can stay suspended for longer periods of time. Dilution of indoor air by opening windows and doors or using mechanical ventilation systems can lower the airborne concentration and remove these smaller particles from the air.”