EXPLAINER: What you need to know for the reopening of indoor dining
From Monday, EU Digital COVID Certificates will be the primary means that people will use to access indoor hospitality.
You will be asked to present your certificate or HSE COVID-19 Vaccination Record or other proof of immunity at the entrance to the premises or seating area in the case of food courts for example. You may also be asked to show some photo ID to prove that the proof of immunity is yours.
Businesses will have access to an online scanner that can scan the QR code on your EU Digital COVID Certificate.
People are asked to note that there is a delay of up to 15 days between receiving your second vaccination and the immunity necessary to activate your certificate, depending on the vaccine received.
If a customer leaves the premises (or seating area in a food court for example) for any reason (to access a smoking area for example) they will have to notify a staff member. Ideally, they will then be provided with a pass which must be returned or checked on re-entry.
Information for customers
What to do if you don't have an EU Digital COVID Certificate
The regulations that are being made under the Health (Amendment) (No.2) Act 2021 will provide details of the proofs of immunity that may be accepted by businesses, including the EU Digital COVID Certificate and HSE COVID-19 Vaccination Record.
Forms of photo ID that are acceptable to show at the door
The regulations that are being made under the Health (Amendment) (No.2) Act 2021 will provide details of the photo IDs that may be accepted by businesses including passports and driving licences.
People vaccinated outside the EU
For those from outside the EU who are fully vaccinated or recovered, the regulations that are being made under the Health (Amendment) (No.2) Act 2021 will provide details of the proofs of immunity that may be accepted by businesses.
Refusal of access
Businesses may refuse access where people cannot offer proof of vaccination or recovery or cannot demonstrate that their certificate relates to them. If businesses do not operate on this basis, they may be liable for fines or closure.
Fáilte Ireland continues to operate its COVID-19 safety charter. Businesses who sign up to this voluntary charter are subject to spot checks which confirm that the business is complying with all public health protocols and government guidelines and that all employees have undertaken infection prevention control training. For consumers, they should look for the safety charter signage.
Conditions in place for businesses around time limits, table numbers, table service
Following public health advice, the time limit for sitting at tables has been removed. There is now no limit to the amount of time consumers can sit at tables. Businesses may decide to operate this approach.
There is no requirement for pre-booking, however businesses may decide to operate this approach. Businesses should ensure appropriate queue management systems are in place.
A maximum of 6 persons aged 13 or over are permitted at a table. This limit of 6 does not include accompanying children aged 12 or younger. The total combined capacity at a table cannot exceed 15 overall (max. 6 persons aged 13 and over). Mingling between tables is not allowed.
You should wear a face mask at all times other than when sitting at your table. All staff will continue to wear appropriate PPE including face masks at all times.
Counter service remains prohibited. The regulations will provide for people to be served at tables only. This is to protect unvaccinated workers.
There is no change to closing time – currently COVID-19 regulations require all premises to close at 11.30pm.
Customers will still be required to provide contact tracing details with the exception of those under 18. Contact name and telephone number are required and will be securely retained for 28 days and will be compliant with GDPR.
Indoor areas should be well-ventilated.
Businesses will not retain any personal data relating to a person’s vaccination or immunity status.
Customers will still be required to provide contact tracing details with the exception of those under 18. Contact name and telephone number are required and will be securely retained for 28 days and will be compliant with GDPR. This is provided for in Regulation 13 of the Health Act 1947 (Section 31A – Temporary Restrictions) (COVID-19) (No. 2) Regulations 2021 (S.I. No. 217 of 2021).
Those who are unable to get a vaccine for medical reasons
Access to businesses is being restricted to those who are vaccinated or recovered as the risk is still high, however the system will be kept under review.
What to do if you see a problem with compliance
The Health and Safety Authority and HSE have been designated in the legislation as having a role in assessing compliance, however, we all have a role to play in making sure that the system works and indoor hospitality can reopen. As a customer, you should raise your concerns with the business first and if you’re not happy, going to another premises sends a strong signal.
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