“Great to be back” as outdoor hospitality returns


The tax collectors said it was “great to be back” as bars, cafes and restaurants reopen for outdoor service from today.

Bars, restaurants and cafes may resume foreign service as part of the latest lift of Covid-19 restrictions.

Gyms, swimming pools and recreation centers may also reopen for the first time this year as part of the easing of other measures.

As a result, thousands of people across the country will return to work.

Local authorities in cities across the country including Dublin, Cork and Galway have pedestrianized a number of streets and installed additional public toilets and bins as part of efforts to facilitate an outdoors-oriented summer.

However, people are still urged to continue to adhere to public health guidelines such as social distancing and crowd avoidance.

Michael O’Sullivan, one of the owners of Clancy’s Bar on Princes Street in Cork, told RTÉ’s News at One that “this is what we do best, hosting, dining and entertaining people is nice to see them again “.

Mr O’Sullivan said they were very lucky that their staff who wanted to return were able to do so.

Justice Minister Heather Humphreys said Gardaí would engage with local authorities, businesses and community groups to ensure the hospitality industry can reopen safely and remain open safely.

This follows several arrests in Dublin and Cork over the weekend for public order violations related to outdoor socializing.

“Our pubs, restaurants and cafes are the businesses that have been hit hardest by the pandemic,” she said.

“The government will support them in any way it can as they welcome customers again.”

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The relaxation of measures marks the last phase of the reopening of the economy and the return of social activity.

Cinemas and theaters may reopen, as may gymnasiums, swimming pools and recreation centers, for individual training only.

Guests attending a wedding celebration or reception can increase to 25, while the number allowed at outdoor events can reach 100 – or a maximum of 200 – in venues with a capacity of 5,000 people.

Matches may also resume, while outdoor entertainment, theme parks and fairgrounds may reopen.

Other changes include the partial resumption of driving theory test services, while an unvaccinated household may have visitors from another unvaccinated household inside.

Steve Barry, the manager of Dennehy’s Gyms in Cork City, said they opened at 8 a.m. and people were lining up to enter.

He told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that it was “a big day for us”, especially since they have just opened their fourth gym locally.

Mr Barry said they wanted people to enjoy the experience of coming back to the gym.

Bríd Looby, the national operations director of the Odeon cinemas, called the reopening of the theaters “a phenomenal day” for them.

She said additional health and safety measures included limited seats for each movie with unoccupied seats between different groups to meet social distancing guidelines as well as staggered screening times to reduce queues.

As restrictions ease from today, this week will also see four live pilot events unfold with crowds.

The first of these will take place on Thursday, where 500 people will attend a concert at Iveagh Gardens in Dublin.

Following this, three sporting events will take place on Friday.

Leinster will play Dragons on RDS with a crowd of 1,200 people; Shamrock Rovers will play Finn Harps at Tallaght Stadium in front of 1,000 people, while Cork City will play Cabinteely at Turner’s Cross in front of 600 people.


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