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Overnight alterations Vintners’ Federation chief confirms two last-minute changes to indoor dining regulations

Contact tracing is now only required for the lead person at a table and for solo customers

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Adrian Cummins

Adrian Cummins

Adrian Cummins

In last-minute changes, contact tracing is now only required for the lead person at a table and for solo customers under new updated guidelines agreed last night.

Another change is that designated tables have been removed, so businesses do not have to keep a record of what table a group of people sat ar.

Padraig Cribben, chief executive of the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland he would say the industry was “almost there” due to “some changes overnight '' regarding regulations.

Mr Cribben said until last night the regulations had specified that everyone in a party would have to provide their details for contact tracing.

However, he added that at midnight that rule was changed and reverted back to only one member of a party having to provide their details for tracing.

“To be fair to the people in Fáilte Ireland, the guidelines are a 32 page document,” Mr Cribben said and some issues “may have been missed.”

“The reality is it’s only the lead contact what would be required,” he added.

“Overnight there was a ridiculous proposal to have designated numbers at tables, recording the time people arrived,” he added.

“The designated numbers has gone.

“I'm still waiting to see the actual regulation in respect of vaccination certificates from the U.S, Northern Ireland, and England.

“There’s quite a lot of work to be done, to comply when people are open.”

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He explained while vaccination documentation will be valid from other countries, “I haven’t seen what they are looking for in that regard.

“We will be advising members on the detail early today. I think opening will be spread over the week.”

Mr Cribben said: “Today is a day of relief, after almost 500 days of being closed.

“There's a lot of anxiety, as there’s been a lot of changes.”

He said outdoor venues had had some negative experiences, including “people wanting to cause problems, refusing to wear masks etc.

“A lot of stuff happened online and people have been indicating they’re going to cause problems with fake reservations, that they’re being discriminated against.

“There's a lot of anxiety there.”

Mr Cribben doesn’t expect today to be busy and said businesses will reopen indoors across the week.

“The reality is we’ve been closed for 16 months, businesses need to get back to trading.

“They need to try to get staff back, it's not just about the publicans it's about the public.

“We urge the public to cooperate with the regulations in place. Bear in mind this is the law of the land, all the publican will be doing is to operate the law of the land to ensure they have a licence.”

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