New Covid-19 outdoor guidelines allow gatherings of 200 people, live music at hotel establishments

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Live music and performances will be permitted at host venues and multiple tables can be reserved for outdoor events for up to 200 people in accordance with new guidelines published by Fáilte Ireland today.

However, there must be “robust safeguards,” with a number of participants up to the limit of 200 to be determined by the area where an event takes place, according to new guidelines released Friday morning.

The guidelines also state that “mixing between tables is not allowed”.

“The overall capacity will depend on the size of the outdoor event area where patrons will be seated,” the guidelines say. The updated guidelines also allow live music and other outdoor performances at host facilities, subject to relevant public health guidelines.

The performance area for live music should be two meters from customers. Guests are kindly requested to stay at their table apart from using a catering service, using the restroom, paying, checking in or out.

“Robust measures” must be put in place to “ensure that customers are not allowed to roam freely in the outdoor space of the event”. Access to areas where customers collect their own food should be “phased”.

Contact tracing is required, as directed, along with ventilation, physical distancing, cleaning, face coverings, good hand and respiratory hygiene, and staying home if you feel unwell.

Barbecue, buffet and self-service are allowed, but only when a queuing system can be set up. Otherwise, table service must be used.

The queue system must be supervised by dedicated employees. All items intended for customers at a buffet must be “individually wrapped or single portion”.

“Covered portions prepared in advance are recommended”, while “once the customer has collected his food, he must make his way to his table on his own”. Guests are still not allowed to use bar counters to order drinks or sit down, as directed.

As with indoor environments, seating arrangements and table plans should be reviewed to ensure that the recommended physical distance and other protective measures can be strictly observed. A physical distance of one meter is required between people seated at tables, while table size limits are the same as for indoor dining.

The release of new guidelines, including new sections on outdoor events, follows advice from the attorney general to the government that up to 200 people can meet for certain outdoor events. This opinion was issued following a controversy over an event organized by former minister Katherine Zappone and attended by several political figures including the Tánaiste Leo Varadkar.

Agreement

Adrian Cummins, managing director of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, said its members’ understanding from the guidelines is that reservations can be taken now for communions, confirmations, parties and other events up to 200 people in open-air hospitality environments.

However, he expressed deep frustration with some aspects of the rules – in particular the ban on mixing between tables. He said the ban would prevent the bride and groom from visiting their guests’ tables.

“The key issue for us is the tables of six and you can’t mingle and this has to be watched at all times which is a nightmare for us to operate – considering you might have 200 people on the street. drinking and no monitoring of that, ”he said. noted.

Mr Cummins calls for an urgent meeting with officials, and he called for clarification on who drew up the rules – whether it was Fáilte Ireland, the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) or the ministry of Health.

Representatives of the hospitality industry have been excluded from the process, he said. “This is another example of the industry being left on the sidelines when key decisions are made again. “

The Managing Director of the Vintners Federation of Ireland, Padraig Cribben, welcomed the new guidelines. He told RTÉ’s News at One that the guidelines brought “a new level of clarity” and that its members could now throw parties.

Mr Cribben said he would have liked the guidelines to be developed with relevant stakeholders.

Matt McGranaghan of the Music and Entertainment Association of Ireland described the revised guidelines as “an important small step forward” towards fully reopening the sector.

Legal expert Dr Laura Cahillane, meanwhile, called for the law on Covid-19 guidelines to be clarified as very few people knew exactly what the law was in relation to such restrictions.

Face cover

Under the guidelines, guests will be asked to wear face coverings and masks when walking through outdoor dining areas, service areas and using indoor facilities. There should be segmented areas for smokers and non-smokers.

Outdoor space can be covered by a roof as long as no more than 50 percent of the perimeter is covered by a wall, windows, door, or similar type of construction. Exterior areas do not have to be fully or substantially closed, the guidelines say, which means in practice that they cannot have sides that can be opened or closed or cover more than half of the perimeter.

A marquee or gazebo with a roof and four sides, for example, would not be outdoor space and instead would need 50% of its wall area open to outside air. Much of the outdoor area should be cleaned twice a day, including entry and exit points, smoking areas, seats and benches, and washrooms, while tables, seats, trays and items reusable items should be cleaned more frequently.


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