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24/09/2021

Some Kildare pubs and restaurants keep doors closed to indoor hospitality due to rules confusion

Reopening started on Monday

Some Kildare pubs and restaurants keep doors closed to indoor hospitality due to rules confusion

File photo

A number of well known pubs and restaurants in County Kildare have chosen to keep their doors closed to indoor hospitality amid criticism of the regulations surrounding itsreopening.

Andy Hogan, proprietor of 33 South Main in Naas said that his premises is open for the sale of food and drink - on an outdoor basis only.

Describing the unveiling of the rules as ‘a mess’, Mr Hogan said that his bar and restaurant will remain open outdoors.

“The last thing I want is confrontation with any of our customers and I'm not interested in having staff check customers for proof of vaccination, so we'll wait and see how things settle down for a few weeks and at least over next weekend.”

Mr Hogan criticised the fact that some guidelines on how to manage the extended reopening were issued at night over the weekend.

File photograph of Andy Hogan of 33 South Main in Naas

Indoor hospitality reopened yesterday (July 26) for people who are fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 in the past six months, as well as children who accompany them.

But while many are reopening their doors, others have publicly announced, particularly on social media, that they will not open for indoor hospitality just yet, at least partially due to its rules and regulations.

The well known Lock 13 gastropub and brewpub in Sallins is remaining closed indoors for now.

“I understand where the government is coming from and its concerns about the  Delta variant of the virus but this system is cumbersome and it adds another layer of administration to an already pressurised environment,” said proprietor Barry Flanagan.

He said the enterprise will continue to trade on an outdoor basis and this will be reviewed every week.

“At ten past midnight last night (Sunday) we were told that we only need to take the lead contact’s phone number; so the situation is evolving,” Mr Flanagan added.

The instruction up to then was that the numbers of all those present had to be noted, even family members.

“I’d like to open up indoors but it needs to be easier to manage. We have a nice outdoor area, but this is also weather dependent.”

O’Connell’s pub in Kilcullen is also sticking with an out of doors service and it has three different spaces to accommodate customers in this way.

Some other businesses which will not reopen for indoor hospitality include the Garden Cafe at the Johnstown Garden Centre, which doesn’t intend to for the “foreseeable future”.

However while the Garden Cafe there remains closed its visitors can be accommodated in an extensive atmospheric outdoor area which is fully weatherproof.

The River Cafe in Kilcullen is also remaining closed to indoor customers, probably for at least the next few weeks. But it has a popular outside facility for customers to avail of. 

The EU digital covid certificate is the strongest evidence to present when visiting a pub, cafe or restaurant and another proof of immunity is the vaccination record provided when people receive the full complement of jabs.

However photo identification may also be requested and visitors will still be required to provide contact tracing details - except for those under 18. Contact name and telephone numbers can be requested and will be retained for 28 days and this procedure complies with data protection regulations.

Businesses have been provided with an online scanner system that verifies the code on the EU cert.

Businesses may refuse access in instances where someone cannot offer proof of vaccination or recovery from the disease or can’t show that the cert refers to them.

And  businesses who don’t operate on this basis may be liable to fines or closure.

There is no time limit for sitting at tables - though individual businesses can impose one. Also, there is no requirement to pre-book a table but the guidelines state that “appropriate queue management systems” should be in place. Customers should wear a facemask at all times other than when sitting.

Counter service remains prohibited and people can only be served at tables to protect unvaccinated workers. 

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