The reaction to the Government announcement this evening from the Restaurant sector is one of disbelief, confusion and frustration with regarding the Government’s decision to permit Hotel & Guesthouse Restaurants to operate as normal for residents by offering Indoor Dining options from the proposed date of Thursday 2nd June whilst restricting Independent Restaurants, Coffee shops and Gastro pubs to outdoor dining only from the 7th June.
Adrian Cummins, Chief Executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland said, “We are calling on the Government to publish the Medical and Scientific evidence deeming a Hotel or Guesthouse Restaurant safer than an independent restaurant, coffee shop or gastro pub. Restaurants, hotels, cafes and gastropubs have all followed and implemented the exact same safety protocols for diners since June of last year. I want to be clear, if the medical advisors have decided it is now safe for indoor dining then Hotels should reopen – what we are asking for is Indoor Dining Equality and to reopen at the same time!”
The decision to divide Hotel restaurants and independent restaurants into two categories is an anti-competitive, inequitable decision and without medical, scientific or public health rationale. This also prohibits independent restaurant owners from functioning viably over the summertime and in fact prohibits the re-employment of approx. 110,000 workers.
Over the last year independent restaurants, coffee shops or gastro pubs have introduced extensive Failte Ireland Guidelines and health and safety measures, relating to the training of staff, operation and layout of their facilities including social distancing and sanitisation.
Finally, the Restaurants Association of Ireland is calling for a fair and equitable solution by allowing all independent restaurants, coffee shops or gastro pubs to reopen alongside Hotel and Guesthouse Restaurants.