Indoor dining in restaurants and cafes resumes today for the first time since last December, with many pubs not having opened their doors since March last year when Covid
restrictions came into effect.
People who are fully vaccinated or who have recovered from Covid-19 in the past six months will be allowed to avail of indoor hospitality, along with accompanied minors.
Contact tracing is now only required for the lead person at a table and for solo customers under new updated guidelines, agreed last night.
Restaurants Association of Ireland Chief Executive Adrian Cummins said another change is that designated tables have been removed.
"This means businesses don't have to keep a record of what table a party sat at - we only heard about these updated guidelines through an email at ten past midnight this morning."
Businesses which reopen will also be able to avail of the three-week double payment of the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme.
Health officials have urged people to embrace the reopening safely.
Adrian Cummins has said that a quarter of Irish businesses will not reopen for indoor dining immediately.
Mr Cummins said: "That is my gut feeling based on listening to businesses."
A lack of staff is the "single biggest issue" for the hospitality sector, he said.
He has said that the hospitality sector may need to renegotiate the guidelines for the reopening of indoor hospitality if they are not working properly from next week.
Vintners' Federation of Ireland CEO Padraig Cribben has welcomed the changes that were made to the contact tracing element of the guidelines.