Negative Covid-19 tests ‘in the mix’ for indoor hospitality - Minister

‘What’s a really important principle is that people are not excluded because of their age’

Negative Covid-19 tests will be “in the mix” when Government formulates plans to allow the reopening of indoor dining with the hospitality industry, Minister of State Ossian Smyth has said.

He said discussions with the sector would take place on Monday and stressed it was important people were not excluded from participating in indoor hospitality on the basis of their age.

“What’s a really important principle is that people are not excluded because of their age, if the vaccination rollout hasn’t reached their age or, for example, if they are immune-compromised and they couldn’t take a vaccine, that they don’t get excluded,” Mr Smyth said.

“There has to be an option for everybody and certainly tests are there in the mix. But then again I can’t prejudge what’s going to happen before we work it out with the restaurants.”


He was speaking on RTÉ Radio One on Saturday. Earlier this week it was announced the planned reopening of indoor hospitality on July 5th would be delayed.

Later, Taoiseach Micheál Martin declined to be drawn on the specifics of Government plans for indoor dining.

Mr Martin was asked whether the Government planned to use the EU Digital Covid-19 cert showing that somebody had been vaccinated as a so-called ‘Corona pass’ for indoor dining, or whether it planned to use separate certificates.

He said it was too early to speculate on what would emerge.

“We’re proceeding with the digital Covid certificate in respect of travel, that work is well underway, and pretty good progress has been made on that but it’s far too early to say whether that would be applied to the domestic situation,” he said.

“I’m not going to speculate on the precise measures we’re going to take to help the return of indoor hospitality. We’re going to engage with the representative bodies of hospitality about indoor dining, and to work out what’s most effective in terms of facilitating the safe reopening of that sector.”

Mr Martin said that it was particularly important that the Government engage with the hospitality sector regarding the re-opening of indoor dining in the context of the growth of the much more contagious Delta variant of Covid-19 and the increased volume of cases it is expected to generate.

He was speaking in Cork where he launched the 2020 Annual Progress Report for the Social Inclusion Community Activation Programme.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times