Hospitality groups keen for a solution for indoor dining in crunch talks 

Hospitality groups are keen to come up with a solution ahead of Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting to reopen indoor dining as soon as possible as crunch talks will continue with Government officials today.

alks between hospitality groups and Government officials will continue this afternoon at 2pm, with pressure to come up with a solution so a proposal can be brought to Cabinet Ministers next Tuesday.

The meeting will be attended by the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI), the Vinter’s Federation of Ireland (VFA), the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) as well as other hospitality groups.

Nphet will not be attending the meeting and there will be no Ministers present – however, Secretary Generals of different Government departments will be.

Legal advice from the Attorney General on the legality of vaccine passes is expected to be brought to the talks today.

Discussions will also be focused on how the EU Digital Covid Cert (DCC) could be used to permit indoor dining.

Sources said that hospitality staff would not be required to scan the certs themselves and diners may have to bring a form of ID to verify that the cert is theirs.

Discussion will also focus on how the falsification of such certs can be avoided.

One hospitality source said that they will be pushing for vaccinated and recovered people to be served indoors only until 80pc of adults are jabbed.

This “sunset clause” would be “time sensitive” and mean that by the time 80pc of adults are vaccinated, indoor dining would then be open to everybody.

It is also understood that with policing from An Garda Siochana ruled out, the meeting will discuss if the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) or Fáilte Ireland may have a role to ensure the vaccine pass system is “robust”.

This is the second meeting that will take place on how indoor dining can reopen after Nphet advised Government that it should only resume for vaccinated or recovered people.

On Monday, Government officials met with the hospitality sector where six scenarios were put on the table as to how vaccine passes could be put in place.

However, it is expected that using the EU travel cert, which will be issued from next week, will be operationalised in some way to allow vaccinated people to dine indoors.

The hospitality sector is still seeking answers from the Government as to how they can operationalise such vaccine passes – for example, if hospitality staff can admit a family with two vaccinated parents and two unvaccinated children.

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