Bars and restaurants in Ireland will not be allowed to welcome indoor diners back until a plan is in place for people to show they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, the prime minister Micheal Martin has said.
The country’s hospitality sector will not reopen for indoor service on July 5 as had been planned, the PM – or Taoiseach – announced in a speech on Tuesday.
Martin said the government’s decision was based on modelling by the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) looking at the risk posed by the more transmissible Delta variant of Covid-19.
Nphet’s analysis showed that the “safest” way to proceed with indoor hospitality was to limit dining only to those who have been double-jabbed or who have recovered from the virus, Martin said. Ireland does not currently have a national vaccine cert scheme in place, but Martin said the government will develop a “practicable and workable” system over the next few weeks.
“The simple truth is that we are in a race between the variant and vaccines and we want to do everything we possibly can to make sure that the vaccine wins,” he explained. The announcement comes as the past 10 days saw the incidence of the Delta variant in Ireland increase from 20% to 50%, Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan told a news conference on Tuesday.
He also said the latest Covid modelling data given to the government was much worse than had been expected.