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Businesses face no-shows and anti-vax abuse as 25pc opt for 'wait and see' reopening approach

Today is D-Day for many of Ireland's restaurants and pubs
Restaurants Association of Ireland’s Adrian Cummins

Restaurants Association of Ireland’s Adrian Cummins

Melanie Finn

Today is D-Day for many restaurants and pubs as they breathe a big sigh of relief.

Fáilte Ireland published its draft guidelines last Friday. But according to Adrian Cummins of the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI), around 25pc of Irish businesses are opting for a 'wait and see' approach and deciding against reopening today.

So what are the main issues today?

1. Staffing

Many proprietors are reporting huge problems trying to get a full complement of staff ahead of today's reopening. Repeated layoffs during the various lockdowns and safety concerns among unvaccinated staff having to work in close proximity to members of the public have caused a major headache for business owners.

Plus many foreign nationals may have returned home.

Adding to the issue is the new stipulation that every entrance to a venue must now be continuously staffed and not just the main passageway.

2. Checking proof of immunity

There are three ways of doing this. Upon entering the premises, customers can either present their EU Digital Covid Cert on their tracker app or the paper-based document which was posted out to them.

They could also show their HSE vaccine card along with proof of identification such as a driving licence. Businesses will be able to check the validity of these certs by using the online QR scanner on the website.

3. Contact tracing

Previously, just one phone number was taken per booking. But now every member of your party will have to provide individual phone numbers for contact-tracing purposes.

4. No-shows and fake bookings from anti-vaxxers

Restaurants have had to ramp up their no-show policies in recent times.

Some venues have been forced to take deposits to secure the booking or enforce a nominal charge for no-shows.

Mr Cummins said a number of venues are also reporting the issue of fake bookings from anti-vaxxers who are "using the hospitality industry as their lightning rod for their own campaign".

"What they are doing is making fake bookings in order to disrupt the industry."

He said that hospitality owners have also reported an increase in online abuse by anti-establishment protesters.

"They might get a trail of social media abuse targeted at them from anti-vaxxers which is totally unfair that they're in the middle of all this," he said.

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