Government looks set to abandon €9 substantial meal rule this year 1 month ago

Government looks set to abandon €9 substantial meal rule this year

No firm dates have been given for the reopening of the hospitality sector but it's thought it will be at least mid-summer.

The Government looks set to abandon the controversial €9 substantial meal rule in pubs this year.

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On Tuesday, the Government revealed its new plan for living with Covid-19, Recovery and Renewal 2021 - The Path Ahead, and laid out what the public can expect if the virus is suppressed.

Last year, a limited number of pubs were allowed to reopen to customers as long as certain restrictions were in place.

These restrictions included the wearing of face coverings, ensuring social distancing was maintained, details recorded for contact tracing and a time limit for customers.

But customers were also required to purchase a "substantial meal" which had to cost at least €9 in order to be served at the premises. This measure was enforced and Gardaí entered pubs to check receipts of customers to ensure the public health measures were being adhered to.

However, in The Path Ahead, there's no mention of "substantial meals" and when asked about the matter at press conference on Tuesday, the Irish Mirror reported Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the Government were "looking at this afresh" this year.

This could mean that when pubs are eventually allowed to reopen, you'll be allowed to have a drink there without being obligated to have a meal with it.

Martin announced on Tuesday that Ireland will remain under Level 5 restrictions until at least 5 April, with three exceptions.

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Schools will reopen from 1 March for Leaving Cert students, and the youngest primary school children.

This will be closely monitored, with fifth years expected to return next in line alongside older primary school students, and the remainder after the Easter break.

Childcare will also reopen from 8 March, while non-Covid healthcare services will also begin to return.

Things may change again from 5 April, Martin said, stressing that if the country can maintain downward pressure on the virus, the Government will examine whether to ease restrictions on construction and outdoor gatherings.