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Indoor dining reopens with many feeling 'anxiety' over new guidelines

Vivienne Clarke

The chief executive of the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI), Padraig Cribben has said that there was “a lot of anxiety” among his members about the reopening of indoor hospitality today.

There was still some work to be done this morning before premises could open, he told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.

Mr Cribben welcomed the overnight change to the requirement that details of all members of a party be recorded.

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Instead, the details of just the lead member of the party will be required. A further requirement about designated table numbers was also relaxed.

There were some templates for the recording of details which the VFI had yet to see, such as how to register customers who have documentation about vaccination from the US, the UK, Europe and Northern Ireland.

“Today is a day of relief,” he said, after almost 500 days of closure. But that feeling of relief was also mixed with anxiety, he added. “There are many challenges in the guidelines."

Mr Cribben said his members were concerned about dealing with members of the public who refused to wear a mask and the coverage on social media of people who had indicated they were going to “cause problems” for the sector because of their opposition to the regulations.

Law of the land

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The reopenings will be spread out over the week as outlets come to terms with the requirements. Many businesses had been closed for 16 months, and they needed to reopen.

“It’s not just about publicans, it’s about the public too,” said Mr Cribben who went on to call on the public to observe the new regulations which will be "the law of the land".

Meanwhile, infectious diseases expert, Professor Paddy Mallon has described the reopening of the indoor hospitality sector as the next step in the transition from pandemic to epidemic.

Speaking on RTE radio’s Morning Ireland, Prof Mallon said that the new regulations for indoor hospitality shifted the responsibility to the individual.

Everyone needed to recognise that “nothing is devoid of risk”, being vaccinated did not make a person “bulletproof”.

“We can make decisions for ourselves.”

The new regulations for the sector were sensible and would definitely limit the impact of superspreader events, he said.

 

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