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'crazy idea' Bar owners slam proposal to allow only fully-vaccinated people to eat and drink inside

'I don't think it is workable..It is not practical, and it has not worked anywhere else'

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A proposal to only allow the fully vaccinated to access indoor dining and drinking has been slammed

A proposal to only allow the fully vaccinated to access indoor dining and drinking has been slammed

A proposal to only allow the fully vaccinated to access indoor dining and drinking has been slammed

Bar owners and restauranters have slammed a suggested proposal that only those who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will be allowed to eat and drink inside bars and restaurants. 

The Cabinet is meeting to consider a proposed system that would permit only those who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to eat and drink inside.

However, this would mean delaying the reopening of indoor hospitality, planned for next Monday, for several weeks to allow time for the system to be established.

One bar owner, Ronan Lynch of the Swan Bar in Dublin described the proposal as "hairbrained".

"I don't think it is workable,” he told Claire Byrne on RTÉ radio this morning. “It is not practical, and it has not worked anywhere else.

He said people with hospitality businesses have had a "rollercoaster 24 hours" and said he is "furious at the leaks", which are "insulting to all involved in hospitality".

The owner of 64 Wine in Glasthule, Gerard Murphy, said they would not reopen fully until all his staff is vaccinated.

Mr Murphy said while they reopened the exterior of the premises for outdoor dining, they feel it would be unsafe to open the interior for the remaining staff members who have not yet been vaccinated.

“We’ve reopened the exterior of the premises for outdoor dining but we're in a very privileged position in two ways. One is that we've never been closed during this whole process because we're essentially a retail wine and delicatessen that has a small, dedicated area, both inside and outside, for dining so we have a wine bar element to our business.

“We lost over half of our staff through this process, but we've remained open. And the staff that have remained have been extremely good to us in terms of allowing us to maintain our business and develop our website.

“But we made a decision there recently because of our concerns about their welfare that it would be unsafe to open the interior for the remaining staff members who have not yet been vaccinated.

“We have 12 staff, one has been fully vaccinated, two partially vaccinated and nine haven’t been offered a vaccine yet.

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“It’s not my business or my affair to decide whether somebody on my staff takes a vaccine or not but the point is that we felt that the very least we can ensure that they are at least offered the vaccine or have the vaccine before we reopen,” he added.

Fine Gael TD Colm Brophy who previously worked in corporate hospitality and event management said he had "reservations" about the proposal.

Also speaking on RTÉ's Today with Claire Byrne, Deputy Brophy said he thinks the implementation of a system that would permit only those who are fully vaccinated to eat and drink inside bars and restaurants would be "extremely difficult".

"I have reservations and can really see the problems in trying to implement a system around people being vaccinated and not being vaccinated. It is a really very difficult thing to do,” he said.

Michael McNamara, Independent TD Clare, said the Government was making decisions based on modelling that he claims has been "wildly inaccurate in the past".

Mr McNamara said that modelling last October was wrong and the data that is being used is unknown.

He told Today with Claire Byrne the latest recommendations are completely different to restrictions across the rest of Europe.

He said we need to find a way of living with Covid because the virus will continue to mutate.

At some point, he said, people will have to determine what risk is appropriate for them.

The CEO of the Restaurant's Association of Ireland said businesses across the country will be devastated by the news of any potential delay to the resumption of indoor hospitality.

Adrian Cummins said plans to allow fully vaccinated people dine indoors is "discriminatory and unworkable".

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr Cummins said the RAI has investigated other jurisdictions, including Denmark and Israel, where similar plans were unsuccessful.

He added that there are also legal questions about the discriminatory nature of the plans under the Equal Status Act.

Mr Cummins said the hospitality has been knocked back a number of times and now doesn't know when it will be allowed re-open fully.

Meanwhile, the Licensed Vintners Association said it will reject any move to separate out the vaccinated from the non-vaccinated.

"It is completely bizarre that they would introduce such a system this late and basically try to panic the entire country into accepting a process that would create a two-tier society," said Donall O'Keeffe, Chief Executive of the LVA, in a statement.

"Given NPHET's track record, we have no confidence they will recommend the reopening of hospitality this summer. By 19 July there will be well over 4.5m vaccines delivered and that should permit hospitality to reopen indoors. The Government must take charge now and commit to our reopening on 19 July," Mr O'Keeffe added.

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