IN THE NEXT step of easing Covid-19 restrictions, hotels and other tourist accommodation can reopen their doors from today.
Hotels, B&Bs, hostels, guesthouses and other tourism accommodation are now permitted to reopen.
Indoor hotel bars and restaurants, along with leisure facilities, can also resume for overnight guests only.
The gradual hospitality reopening will continue from 7 June with the return of outdoor services at restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars.
The Tourism and Arts Minister Catherine Martin said the easing of restrictions for the tourism and hospitality sector “represents a further important step” in the government’s reopening plan.
“Accommodation and restaurants along with pubs and bars will be able to reopen their doors after this difficult period of enforced closure,” Martin said in a statement.
“I know that all tourism and hospitality businesses will extend a warm Céad Míle Fáilte to their guests and I encourage people to keep discovering the delights our country has to offer.
“This will drive much needed and sustained footfall to local tourism and hospitality businesses as they reopen over the coming weeks.”
Paul Kelly, the chief executive of Fáilte Ireland, said the safe reopening of tourism and hospitality will “provide a much needed boost to our national recovery”.
Publicans and restaurateurs have been critical of the fact that hotels will be permitted to serve food indoors to residents from today while restaurants and pubs cannot.
The Restaurants Association of Ireland described it as an “arbitrary, unjust and discriminative” decision.
The Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said last Friday that it doesn’t make sense to change the “anomaly” of hotels being permitted to serve food and drink indoors while indoor dining is banned elsewhere, for the month-long period of disparity.
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Indoor services in all pubs and restaurants can return from 5 July.
The chief executive of the Irish Hotels Federation, Tim Fenn, said hotels are “delighted” to be reopening, but there are “significant costs” after months of closure.
“Government supports to date have been very welcome. Nonetheless hotels are facing a slow recovery, and this must be recognised,” Fenn said.
“The hotel sector was brought to its knees by the Covid-19 restrictions. Tourism will recover but, in the meantime, hotels which are an integral part of its infrastructure require continued government supports to enable survival and take those first and all-important steps into recovery,”