06 Oct 2022

EXPLAINER: What are the new Covid-19 rules for pubs, restaurants and cafés?

EXPLAINER: What are the new Covid-19 rules for pubs, restaurants and cafés?

EXPLAINER: What are the new Covid-19 rules for pubs, restaurants and cafés?

The government is coming under increasing pressure to withdraw or amend new guidelines published for pubs, restaurants and cafés. The guidelines updated by Failte Ireland require food businesses to keep a record of peoples' orders for 28 days.

A number of business owners and local and national politicians have blasted this as 'bureaucracy gone mad' and 'over the top.'

So what are the new rules?

The biggest change is the number of people who can be seated at one table. No more than six people are allowed at a table in restaurants, gastro pubs and cafés. These six people must be from no more than three different households. 

The controversial new rule is the record of orders which must be kept for 28 days, according to the new rules.

The time and date of customers' arrival must be noted.

Businesses must record and keep a name and contact number for one person per group. These records must also be kept for 28 days.

All straws must be individually wrapped before being given to customers.

Decorations on glasses like cocktail umbrellas should be used sparingly.

The reaction

The Vintners' Federation of Ireland (VFI) labelled the temporary rule to keep 28-days records as "bureaucracy gone mad."

Padraig Cribben, chief executive of the VFI, said: "This is crazy stuff. The idea that a pub must record all food ordered by each customer and then store it for 28 days is bureaucracy gone mad."

"Not only is it too impractical for our members to implement, but why does the Government think this law will help in the fight against Covid? It's madness."

Minister of State at the Department of Business Enterprise and Innovation Damien English spoke on RTE's Prime Time and admitted the record-keeping would be "more hassle" for struggling business owners but said they would serve more as proof people ate rather than worrying about what they ate.

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