The Restaurants Association of Ireland has sharply criticised the Government’s reopening plan for “dividing” the hospitality sector.
Under the easing of restrictions announced by the Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, hotels will be allowed to reopen with indoor dining for residents from June 2nd, while other hospitality outlets will be allowed to reopen with outdoor dining only from June 7th.
No date has been set for the resumption of wider indoor dining apart from within hotels. The State’s public health advisers have repeatedly warned that indoor dining creates the conditions most conducive to the spread of the virus.
The RAI said the reaction within the restaurant sector to Thursday evening’s announcement is “disbelief, confusion and frustration” as “restaurant customers must dine on the street, whilst hotel guests can eat and drink indoors.”
The lobby group wants the Government to allow all restaurants, cafes and gastropubs to reopen at the same time and under the same conditions as hotels.
“Restaurants, hotels, cafes and gastropubs have all followed and implemented the exact same safety protocols for diners since June of last year,” said Adrian Cummins, the RAI chief executive.
The RAI said it believes the Government’s policy “to divide hotel restaurants and independent restaurants into two categories is an anti-competitive, inequitable decision and without medical, scientific or public health rationale”.