• Cyril McAree

RAI Voice Ongoing Concerns Re 2 Metre Social Distancing As Fáilte Ireland Re-opening Guidelines

The Restaurants Association of Ireland welcome Fáilte Ireland’s Reopening Guidelines for Restaurants and Cafés today, but the inclusion of 2 metre social distancing remains a huge problem for Cafes & Restaurants to reopen viably.

The Fáilte Ireland guidelines offer detailed advice on the systems that should be implemented to help instil public confidence and reboot business while adhering to public health advice and Government protocols.   

The guidelines provide comprehensive advice on re-opening for business owners, with an emphasis placed on the safety and wellbeing of employers, employees and customers. The guidelines aim to provide information to restaurants and cafes on opening safely and effectively on June 29th.

The guidelines, which were issued today in a new booklet, detail important measures for businesses to take into account, such as physical distancing, distribution of PPE and employee and customer safety and will be a living document as public health guidance changes over the coming weeks.

Adrian Cummins, CEO, Restaurants Association of Ireland, said: “We would like to thank Fáilte Ireland for all their hard work in putting together these essential guidelines for businesses reopening on June 29th.

We all have a duty of care to both employees and members of the public to ensure their safety and well-being while on a premise. By reading and following these guidelines, we hope for a swift reopening of many establishments and aim to see 120,000 employees back to work.

However, it’s not all good news. We are asking the government to reduce the mandatory social distance from two metres to one metre. The World Health Organisation (WHO) states - 1-metre is a safe social distance. To enforce a two-metre distance could prove detrimental to many small businesses who will struggle to survive the reduced customer capacity. We have fought hard on this issue and expect the required social distance to be change to one metre by 29th June.

Comprehensive hygiene controls have always been part of Café & Restaurant standard operating procedures, with Ireland having some of the highest standards of food safety in Europe. Businesses will continue to enhance and implement such hygiene practices to ensure customer safety as they reopen.

The Restaurants Association of Ireland is seeking clarification regarding Tapas & Sharing Plates for Customers, Taking Orders from Customers at 2 metres and inclusion of screens between customer tables.

The Hospitality and Tourism Industry has been hit hard during this crisis, but public safety has been our main concern throughout this pandemic. We continue to lobby the Government for an aid package. With reopening imminent, a sector specific aid -package is needed now. We require a 0% vat rate; a commercial rates write off and grants for businesses in adherence to the RAI 9-point recovery plan.

We followed the rules. We shut our doors. And now we are asking the government to help us open them again.”


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