Hospitality industry to be warned to improve compliance with Covid-19 rules

Almost a third of pubs and restaurants inspected by HSE found not to be fully compliant

Government officials will on Tuesday warn the hospitality industry they must improve compliance with measures to prevent Covid-19 as cases of the virus across the country remain stubbornly high.

Representatives of pubs, restaurants and the live entertainment industry will be told the Government wants “maximum compliance” with rules such as the requirement for vaccine passes.

The meeting later on Tuesday comes as the latest figures show that almost a third of pubs and restaurants inspected by the Health Service Executive (HSE) are still being found not to be fully compliant with Covid-19 regulations.

Hospital Report

A separate survey from the Economic and Social Research Institute showed the number of people not having their Covid passes checked in pubs has shot up from 21 per cent to 37 per cent. For restaurants, 34 per cent of those surveyed did not have their Covid passes checked in October.


One Government source said they expected the industry to be told to “up their game” saying the sector had argued for reopening while saying they could do it safely and that now they “need to prove they can”.

Speaking to reporters in Cork, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said: “The bottom line . . . is we want to see maximum compliance with existing guidance and existing regulations particularly in terms of the vaccination certificates.”

He said engagement with the hospitality sector had previously been “constructive” and he expected Tuesday’s meeting would be the same.

Compliance checks

Since October 22nd, when nightclubs and live music venues reopened, the HSE has carried out 2,266 compliance checks in a variety of trading hospitality businesses, with inspections being undertaken “at all times of the day/night and at weekends”.

While 70 per cent were found to be “compliant”, 23 per cent “required additional compliance measures and” 7 per cent were deemed to be “non-compliant”.

The HSE did not provide figures for the number of premises that have been subject to enforcement actions as a result of the inspections.

Enforcement action can include fines of €2,500 and referral to the Garda which can object to the renewal of licences for pubs and restaurants in the district court.

Separately, Mr Martin said that non-Covid respiratory viruses such as respiratory syncytial virus are currently more problematic for schoolgoing children than Covid-19 in terms of hospital admissions.

He said anyone showing any signs of symptoms of respiratory illness should not go to school.

Mr Martin said he expected that antigen tests would be used in “in given areas” within schools “in line with advice from public health” after the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said that antigen testing may suitable in some cases for children.

Elsewhere, Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan has insisted he did not seek the second test for Covid-19 that allowed him to travel to the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow after an initial positive test threatened his trip.

Mr Ryan – who travelled after the second, negative, test result – said he followed medical instructions and rejected any suggestion he had received special treatment as a Government Minister.

The HSE said that in certain instances, repeat tests may be recommended for individuals.

Meanwhile, Minister of State at the Department of Health Frank Feighan is currently self-isolating after testing positive for Covid-19.

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn is a Political Correspondent at The Irish Times

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times