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new recommendations Restaurants and pubs should only be allowed offer takeaway and delivery service over Christmas, Nphet says

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Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan

Restaurants and pubs should only be allowed offer takeaway and delivery service for the entire Christmas period, according to recommendations made to Government by Nphet.

Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan’s recommendation casts doubt over Government plans to allow restaurants and pubs that serve food open in the second week of December.

The recommendation will now be debated by the Cabinet Committee on Covid-19 which will be attended by Mr Holohan.

Meanwhile, Nphet also recommended that only two households should be allowed meet in doors once the Level 5 lockdown ends next week.

The group also suggested that restrictions on social gathering could be eased further to allow six people from at most three households meet indoors closer to Christmas.

Nphet is proposing that the country be moved into “enhanced” Level 3 restrictions from December 2.

This would mean restaurants and pubs would only be able to continue offering takeaway and delivery for the entire Christmas period.

People would be told to stay in their county and asked to keep any non-essential travel to their locality.

Non-essential retail would be allowed to open but protective measures would have to be introduced to ensure the virus does not spread among shoppers.

It is understood Nphet raised specific concerns about opening shopping centres and said “robust” measures would have to be introduced to ensure they reopen safely.

The recommendation regarding the hospitality industry is set to be the most divisive before Cabinet makes a decision.

Ongoing talks within Government this week saw ministers planning to reopen restaurants and gastropubs in the second week of December.

Pubs would be required to have a kitchen and chef on site to provide meals. The aim of the new regulations was to clamp down on pubs serving sandwiches and oven pizzas to get around the €9 substantial meal rule for serving alcohol.

Pubs have also been allowing customers order food from other local businesses to get around the rules.

Ministers did not expect to allow wet pubs reopen before Christmas. Wet pubs only reopened outside Dublin earlier this year for a brief period before the second lockdown.

The Cabinet Committee on Covid-19 is due to meet this afternoon to discuss Nphet’s advice and a range of data compiled on behalf of the Department of the Taoiseach by auditors EY.

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