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they're covid Restaurants and pubs to be protected against legal action for refusing entry without vaccine cert

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A sign outside a restaurant in Rathgar, Dublin, as representatives from the hospitality sector are to hold another meeting with Government officials about the reopening of indoor dining. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

A sign outside a restaurant in Rathgar, Dublin, as representatives from the hospitality sector are to hold another meeting with Government officials about the reopening of indoor dining. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

A sign outside a restaurant in Rathgar, Dublin, as representatives from the hospitality sector are to hold another meeting with Government officials about the reopening of indoor dining. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Restaurants and pubs are expected to have protection against legal action for refusing indoor dining to people without a vaccine cert.

Three separate hospitality sources involved in yesterday’s negotiations around indoor dining said that restaurants and pubs will be protected under discrimination and GDPR laws, and against falsified certs.

A senior Government official last night said that the Government is “considering all options which will include legislative underpinning for any measures agreed”.

Details of this legal protection will be ironed out over the weekend. Government officials will work on emergency legislation which will be pushed through the Dáil next week in order to allow indoor dining for fully vaccinated people and those who have recovered from infection.

This will be facilitated through the EU Digital Covid Cert, which will be issued from July 12.

Hospitality staff will scan the QR code contained on the cert to grant patrons entry.

Speaking yesterday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said: "The issue for us is about protecting people, it's not about discriminating.

"I think that's a very unfortunate perspective that's being put on it.

"I see this as protecting people who are not vaccinated.

"People can take court cases, that's their option, that's their legal right and entitlement and I can't pre-empt what people will do in that respect.

"We will have legislation underpinning this, this specific initiative to facilitate the policy decisions we want to take to reopen indoor hospitality."

It is expected gardaí may deal with pubs and restaurants that are in breach of the new laws, but will not be doing “spot checks”.

However, tourists who arrive into the country with PCR tests will not be allowed indoors, according to vintners’ groups.

Officials will also examine the issue of how families and how unvaccinated children will be able to accompany vaccinated parents indoors.

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At Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting, ministers will consider two memos.

One memo will contain six scenarios on how indoor hospitality can resume, with the most “emphasis” being put on vaccinated and recovered people being allowed to sit inside in restaurants and pubs.

The second memo will focus on the legislative changes required.

Ministers will then sign off on the proposals, which will have to be pushed through the Dáil and Seanad in a matter of days before the Dáil breaks up for the summer, and signed into law.

PCR and antigen testing for indoor dining will be explored “in the weeks ahead”, according to Adrian Cummins of the Restaurants Association of Ireland.

Mr Cummins said: “While the protocol of vaccine certification is not perfect, more work is required over the weekend in order for legislation to be brought forward to put the reopening of indoor hospitality on a legal footing”

Mr Martin declined to confirm that indoor dining will reopen on July 19 ahead of discussions with his Cabinet colleagues.

Padraig Cribben, Vintners' Federation of Ireland chief executive, said the “primary goal” is to reopen in a “safe manner”.

"If a so-called vaccine pass is what’s required, then the onus is now on Government to get the legislation passed next week before the Oireachtas takes its summer break.”

Meanwhile, Licensed Vintners Association chief executive Donall O’Keeffe said restaurants and pubs will have to turn away tourists who arrived on a negative PCR test.

"Tourists that arrive here on a negative PCR test won’t be permitted indoors," he said.

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