Q&A: What can guests expect from hotel reopening?

Indoor dining at hotels and guest houses will be available to overnight guests only

The bar is back, but with table service only, according to Fáilte Ireland guidelines. File photograph: iStock

The bar is back, but with table service only, according to Fáilte Ireland guidelines. File photograph: iStock

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Hotels, hostels, B&Bs, self-catering facilities and camping parks will reopen for non-essential guests from today, ahead of the bank holiday weekend.

A survey of members by the Irish Hotel Federation found that the average 75-bedroom hotel needed to spend €72,000 preparing its facilities to reopen. Fáilte Ireland has developed guidelines for hospitality reopening in line with public health advice.

So, what can hotel guests expect?

What will the reception areas be like?

As was the case last summer, cleaning and disinfection protocols are prioritised, with clear markings in place to direct physical distancing in all communal areas. New with this reopening is that all guests must wear face coverings when using indoor facilities. There is also an increased focus on ventilation.

Are breakfast buffets back on the menu?

Indoor dining at hotels and guest houses will be available to overnight guests only from June 2nd.

Carveries and buffets are allowed only where physical distancing and other public health measures can be followed. Guests must wear face coverings when moving around the dining room and customer access to the buffet must be staggered and a one-way system in place.

A maximum of six teenagers and adults are allowed per table. This does not include children aged 12 and under, with the maximum at any table being 15.

Guests will have to pre-book tables for a maximum period of 105 minutes if tables are spread one metre apart. There is no time limit if there is a gap of 2 metres between groups. No live or loud music is permitted.

What about the hotel bar?

The bar is back, but with table service only, according to Fáilte Ireland guidelines. Many of the same rules that apply to indoor hotel restaurants are applicable in the bar, such as table distancing and time limits. Guests must vacate licenced premises by 11.30pm, including the hotel lobby.

Can I use the hotel’s gym, pool and spa facilities?

Leisure facilities will open for residents only from Wednesday. Other members of the public will be granted access to pools and gyms on an individual or household basis from June 7th. There is to be no intermingling with others in the pool or gym, Fáilte Ireland guidance states. Gym equipment should be placed at least two metres apart and ventilation must be prioritised in this area.

Spas are also permitted to reopen, with attention given to disinfection measures. Saunas and steam rooms can operate, as long as social distancing is enforced.

Can events be held at hotels?

Currently wedding receptions can welcome six guests indoors or up to 15 outdoors. From June 7th this will increase to 25 guests, with no differentiation between indoor and outdoor receptions. The number at wedding services will remain the same, at a maximum of 50. No other indoor events or gatherings are permitted to take place.

Outdoor dining returns from Monday… what will that entail?

Outdoor tables can be one metre apart with no time limit on guests. The same restrictions on numbers for indoor hotel dining apply to eating at standalone bars or restaurants outdoors. Only table service is allowed. Diners must wear face masks when circulating around the outdoor dining areas and when using indoor facilities. Last orders must come on time to clear all patrons by 11.30pm.

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