Minister Simon Harris says €9 substantial meal rule was "a bit of a mockery" 3 months ago

Minister Simon Harris says €9 substantial meal rule was "a bit of a mockery"

Let's hope this means we won't have to buy a couple of plates of chips with our pints whenever pubs do reopen.

Minister Simon Harris has said that the introduction of the controversial €9 substantial meal rule was "a bit of a mockery" as he is hoping "common sense" will prevail when hospitality next reopens.

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Speaking on KCLR on Tuesday, Harris, who was involved with the drafting of the rule, said that he is "self-critical" of the end result.

"Yeah, it became a bit of a mockery the last time, if I'm being honest. I mean, I was involved with the rule and I'm being self-critical here, the idea that a plate of chicken goujons can somehow protect you from Covid," he said.

"What protects you from Covid is social distancing, being safe indoors, wearing your mask, washing your hands, and all those things we've learned. So I think there does have to be common sense here when we get to that point."

The Minister added that he is hopeful there will be a return to outdoor dining at least over the coming months.

"So, this is an area I will get into trouble if I over-speculate on because I don't know the answer yet but I don't see why we won't be able to do that during the summer months. We managed this last summer," he added.

"This summer, we obviously have the benefit of vaccines as well. I've been making the point in recent days that the outdoors is pretty safe. And we're already seeing people being able to meet at a picnic bench and have a picnic with someone from another household. That's not much different than outdoor dining in my view."