It was nice while it lasted, but outdoor dining in Ireland has come to a halt again as Covid-19 restrictions are strengthened.
The dark downside is a lot more closures and job losses in Irish food and hospitality circles.
On Monday evening, the Government announced that Level 5 restrictions – not the previous “level four plus” – would be implemented. Restrictions will remain in place for a period of six weeks, effective midnight this Wednesday (read as Wednesday into Thursday).
For restaurants, cafés and bars in a position to remain open, this means reverting to takeaway only until the end of November or until restrictions are eased.
This also has an impact on hotel services, though weddings will now be limited to 25 persons regardless of venue, ceremony or reception. This would have been 6 under the original Level 5 proposals. Retail-wise, ‘non-essential’ retail outlets will close.
If you haven’t already, now is the time to think about your local shops, local butcher, baker, grocer.
Outdoor dining is done, restaurants will close
For a hospitality sector that’s already been rocked by job losses and closures, it may spell more of the same. Indeed losses on a whole across the country are expected to amount to hundreds of thousands.
There are plenty of eateries who, on the rollout of level 3 restrictions, invested in facilities for outdoor dining to keep doors open – even if it means only seating a max of fifteen persons.
Yes, it’s been cold and will likely be colder, but we’re a hardy bunch at the end of the day, right?
Those dining areas will now close with restaurants and cafés only permitted to open on a takeaway or delivery basis only as experienced during the hard lockdown this past spring. That includes all businesses in Kilkenny on this list.
There are some businesses who made a great stab at takeaway service earlier in the year and through the recent level 3 restrictions.
However, in the same recent restrictions there are more who opted not to move to takeaway or delivery despite efforts earlier in the year, deeming it a step too far in retaining both staff and profits.
Wet pubs can also provide takeaway/delivery except for those in Dublin who must remain closed.
Rolling back from Level 5 in six weeks time – four on good behaviour
My heart goes out to anyone running a restaurant, bar or café or working in one. Working in media and usually reporting on news and social matters instead of being the subject of them, I can only imagine what people in the industry are going through.
Six weeks brings us to the end of November, start of December. In a twist, the lockdown will be reviewed after four weeks to assess its performance.
You would have to imagine, however that rolling back from level five to level two or three (proper three as opposed to ‘three plus’) will take some work but the plan at time of writing is to exit Level 5 by 1 December with Covid-19 suppressed in Ireland and take things from there.
If you’re curious or concerned, here’s two links to follow.
Level 5 Covid-19 Restrictions in Ireland
Here’s the full raft of changes that cover the latest round of Covid-19 restrictions, effective 19 October through end November.
- Schools will remain open, childcare too
- People living or parenting alone can pair with one other household to form a ‘support bubble’ to help one another over the coming weeks
- No visitors allowed to your home except under compassionate/childcare grounds
- No social or family gatherings should take place in other settings, though it is possible to meet with one other household in an outdoor setting that isn’t your own home or garden (think park) including for exercise
- Up to 25 guests can attend a wedding ceremony or reception
- No organised indoor gatherings – business, training events, conferences, cultural, arts – can not take place
- No organised outdoor events can take place
- Individual training (sports) can take place, but no exercise or dance classes. Gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools not already closed will shut
- Contrary to original guidelines, elite sport including the GAA inter-county championships, can continue along with League of Ireland and Six Nations rugby.
- Non-contact training for school-aged children can continue in pods of 15 in an outdoor setting only
- Nail bars, salons, hairdressers and any other services or retail deemed “non essential” will shut for the 6 weeks
- Hotels and accommodation remaining open are advised to do so only for those with essential non-social and non-tourist purposes.
- Except for work, food shopping or medical purposes, you’re asked to remain within 5km from home like earlier this year. There will be a penalty for movement outside 5km with exemptions for essential work/purposes.
- Those who can work from home are advised to.