What today's new restrictions mean for Irish diners this Christmas

By Katy Thornton

December 7, 2021 at 12:01pm

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A whole new set of restrictions are now in place, with an emphasis on those looking to dine out.

As the hospitality landscape eerily begins to look a lot like it did this time last year, Irish diners may be feeling a little flat. Christmas parties, either with work, or friends, are limited to a maximum of six people per table. There is (thankfully) no €9 meal requirement; "wet" pubs can open, but only with table service. There will be a distance of one metre between tables, and face masks must be worn whenever you're not seated. Both bars and restaurants will have a midnight curfew.

There will be no post meal boogie as nightclubs are now closed from today until the 9th January.

According to Citizens Information, "Residents of hotels need proof of immunity to access bars and restaurants" where they previously did not need to present it.

The Effect of the Restrictions

According to The Journal, even ahead of these new restrictions, "3,400 cancellations" were made at restaurants in a three week period. This number is likely to only rise given the six person per table rule. It is now not possible to make multiple bookings, or for tables to mingle. This could either force people to cancel bookings, if their group is larger, or to move to a residential space instead. However, private homes are only to have a maximum of four households coming together at any one time.

Many will avoid dining indoors altogether, possibly opting for sitting outdoors instead. While this is certainly an option, it may not be the most welcome, given the drop in temperature. For a lot of people, dining out may just be a risk they don't want to take this Christmas. Unfortunately, this will have a devastating effect on the hospitality sector, after an already difficult two years for them. Many won't recover from losing out on their important Christmas trading hours.

According to The Journal, the Taoiseach said: "The risks associated with proceeding into the Christmas period without some restrictions to reduce the volume of personal contacts is just too high."

Header image via Shutterstock 

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