RESTAURANTS AND PUBS will not be able to insist customers continue to show their vaccination certs to access services when the government lifts restrictions on 22 October.
Cabinet agreed to extend the emergency provisions that allow for indoor hospitality to reopen under certain conditions, such as with the use of the Covid pass, until 9 January 2022.
However, Government is keen to stress it remains the plan that all restrictions relating to the requirement for certification of vaccination, immunity or testing before entering a pub or restaurant, and other indoor activities, will be lifted on 22 October.
It is understood that the extension, which effectively gives the minister the power to re-impose the regulations, is “precautionary”.
When asked if restaurants or pubs will be able to use their own discretion, and ask customers to show their vaccination or immunity certs after restrictions are lifted, a government spokesperson said:
“No, as these provisions also need a regulation signed by the Minister responsible to bring it into force. The Minister for Health will sign a regulation to cover October 9 to October 22,” they said.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar told the Dáil that after 22 October, people will be able to order a drink at a bar again as social distancing will no longer be a legal requirement.
Speaking in the Dáil, he said when all legal restrictions are lifted there will be no social distancing required and hospitality venues will be able to return to the capacity they had prior to the pandemic.
Fine Gael TD Jennifer Carroll MacNeill raised the issue that some maternity hospitals are still imposing restrictions on pregnant couples.
She highlighted that a pilot nightclub event is taking place this evening in the Button Factory with the use of a vaccine pass and an antigen test, but some restrictions still remain in maternity hospitals.
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Varadkar said he shared the frustration. He said he planned to raise the issue again with Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan and Health Minister Stephen Donnelly.
“It is hard to justify the continuing restrictions on partners attending hospitals with their pregnant partners. Again, I share the frustration. We as a Government do not want to overrule doctors and nurses or take away their autonomy to make decisions they have to make at local level in a hospital, particularly if there is an outbreak or a cluster.
“However, that really should be exceptional and it seems to be more than exceptional at this stage,” he said.