Indoor service in restaurants and pubs to return by July 26th ‘at the latest’ – Varadkar

Proposal to confirm reopening date to be brought in front of Cabinet Tuesday

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said: ‘Industry is saying to us that they’re keen to open as soon as possible, but we have to get the legislation done.’ Photograph: iStock

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said: ‘Industry is saying to us that they’re keen to open as soon as possible, but we have to get the legislation done.’ Photograph: iStock

 

Indoor services in restaurants and pubs are likely to resume by July 26th “at the latest”, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said.

The reopening of indoor services was postponed amid concern over the Delta variant of Covid-19 and the advice of the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet), which said it should not happen until a system of proving customers had been vaccinated was put in place.

One option is to adapt the EU digital Covid certificate for international travel to allow it to be used for domestic services to prove vaccination status or that a person has recently recovered from the virus.

Mr Varadkar said a date hasn’t been agreed yet for indoor services to resume.

“The plan is to bring the proposal to Cabinet on Tuesday that will enable us to open indoor hospitality in line with Nphet guidance.

“That obviously has to go through the Dáil, it has to get through the Seanad.

“We have to ask the President to sign it and we have to do some regulations too, so it’s not that there’s a particular date. We just need to work out when we can do it from.”

He added that it will “probably” be some date between July 19th and 26th.

He suggested July 26th would be the latest it would happen.

Mr Varadkar said: “Industry is saying to us that they’re keen to open as soon as possible, but we have to get the legislation done.”

He said: “I think we can do it before the 26th. But like I say we’ll have clarity on Tuesday on that.”

Meanwhile, Taoiseach Micheál Martin, speaking in Cork, said: “Nothing has been set in stone in terms of dates yet because we have to decide that at the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday. But we are attempting to facilitate the reopening of indoor hospitality in line with the Nphet advice we have received.

“We will introduce in the Dáil next week primary legislation which will give us the framework to bring in the policy decisions we take on Tuesday in terms of the reopening of hospitality.

“I think that is important for that sector. It has been under huge pressure because of Covid 19. We understand of course the impatience of the sector to get reopened.”