Tánaiaste Leo Varadkar has stated that the government’s plans to reopen indoor dining are “imperfect” but the “best opportunity” for the reopening of the sector.
This comes as the Dáil currently debates the new legislation that will allow fully vaccinated individuals to dine indoors.
In regards to alternatives to the government’s proposal, Varadkar stated that we either reopen indoor dining without restrictions or keep it closed down until we develop herd immunity.
Varadkar described the current proposal as the best option as it’s “a middle path – a safe path”.
Although enforcement measures will be provided if required, Varadkar stated, “This isn’t about catching anyone out,” while adding, “We’re certainly not going to see compliance officers gong table to table checking peoples’ passes,”.
The Tánaiste stated that this system may not be required for too long and that it could be used for other sectors that are currently closed.
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly stated that the hotel quarantine system will be extended until the 9th of October with a single additional option of extending it for three months.
Sinn Féin health spokesperson David Cullinane criticised the new legislation, describing it as “discriminatory and unfair”.
Labour Party Leader Alan Kelly stated that the legislation will cause havoc and “break social solidarity”.
“What we are doing here is crossing a line – a line that shouldn’t be crossed. Where we isolate – treat people differently,”.
Cullinane stated that he cannot support the bill while his party colleague PA Daly stated that there is no training for hospitality staff who will have to police the passes.
As there is already rising tension in regards to the legislation, publicans have expressed fear over how they will police the passes and if they will have to hire extra security.
Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shorthall stated, “It was a serious mistake to try to force this legislation through,” while adding that to call the new legislation imperfect was an understatement.
She also warned that fundamental principles are being breached by the legislation, such as passing personal data on to random people in public settings.