Dining room reservations are limited to six people over the age of 13

Customers who dine indoors at pubs, restaurants and cafes when they reopen will be granted 105 minutes per reservation if there is a distance of less than two meters between tables.

According to new guidelines released Wednesday morning, reservations will allow a maximum of six people 13 years of age or older per table. This limit of six does not include accompanying children aged 12 or under. The total capacity combined with a table cannot exceed 15 in total.

New rules regarding time limits, smoking areas and entertainment in restaurants and other hotels have been published by Fáilte Ireland.

The guidelines have been approved by the Department of Taoiseach and will be part of the broader plan to reopen the government to be announced on Friday.

The guidelines state that the physical distance of two meters should be maintained between tables in an indoor environment. However, this could be reduced to one meter when pre-booked, time-limited slots are in place for guests, which are limited to a maximum of 105 minutes plus 15 minutes to allow cleaning.

Pre-booking and the 105-minute time-limited slots would not be a requirement if the two-meter physical distance is “strictly maintained,” the document said.

For outdoor dining, there may be a distance of one meter between the tables.

The guidelines also stressed the importance of ventilation when reopening the hotel industry. Hotels are scheduled to reopen on June 2, and outdoor hospitality is expected to resume on June 7.

“The proven importance of ensuring adequate outdoor fresh air circulation should be factored into operational practices. The spread of the virus is more likely when infected people are in close contact, so the risk of contracting Covid is higher in crowded and poorly ventilated spaces where infected people spend long periods together in close proximity, ”the document states. .

“It is important to maximize ventilation in areas where people are in close contact. While large droplets containing the virus settle on surrounding surfaces within seconds, the smaller particles containing the virus can remain in suspension for longer periods of time. Diluting indoor air by opening windows and doors or using mechanical ventilation systems can reduce the concentration in the air and remove these smaller particles from the air. “

The document also asked restaurants and cafes to keep abreast of relevant international travel restrictions that are in place “as these may be periodically changed”.

Noise levels

Live music would also not be allowed as restaurateurs are urged to keep noise levels low.

“In agreement with the WHO [World Health Organisation] with evidence, recent public health advice indicates that there must be a restriction on noise levels in restaurants to prevent transmission of Covid-19.

“High noise levels in a room can negatively impact conversation and encourage customers to speak up to communicate, thereby encouraging possible transmission of the virus.

“Attempting to hear from others due to the high volumes can cause people to come closer to each other and not adhere to social distancing. To avoid this, companies must have a plan in place and take appropriate action to control noise levels, to ensure that volumes do not increase to a level where people are required to take such action to hear. others.

The document also recommended “segmenting food and beverage zones to allow smokers and non-smokers”.

The Restaurant Association of Ireland welcomed the publication of the Fáilte Ireland guidelines.

“Our main objective must now be the reopening of restaurants, gastronomic pubs and cafes linked to hotels. The guidelines prove that there is now a difference between a hotel restaurant and a stand-alone restaurant, ”said Managing Director Adrian Cummins.

Meanwhile, the Covid Cabinet subcommittee will meet on Thursday to decide how to ease remaining restrictions on international travel, hospitality and mass gatherings over the coming months.

Cabinet will then meet on Friday.

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