A RETURN to indoor dining for the Irish public could be on the cards this month, as the Tánaiste expects a plan to be in place by 26 July "at the latest".
Indoor dining was expected to resume on 5 July, but the spread of the Delta variant saw the Government and National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) decide it was too dangerous.
Instead, it was decided that plans would be put into place to allow only the fully vaccinated, and people who had recovered from Covid-19, to eat indoors.
Vaccine passes are due to be issued from Monday for these two groups, which they will show on arrival to a bar or restaurant before being allowed to dine indoors.
Anyone who has not yet been fully vaccinated must eat outdoors.
Tánaiste and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar was yesterday asked if there was a date set for the return to indoor dining, sing vaccine passes such as the EU digital Covid certificate which will be used for international travel.
According to The Irish Times, there has not yet been an exact date decided for the return to indoor dining as the bill must go through the Dáil and through the Seanad, "we have to ask the President to sign it and we have to do some regulations too, so it's not that there's a particular date".
"[The hospitality] industry is saying to us that they’re keen to open as soon as possible, but we have to get the legislation done," he said, adding he "thinks" it can reopen before the 26th of July but it will be some time before that can be confirmed.
A proposal to confirm reopening dates for indoor dining in pubs, cafés and restaurants will be brought in front of the Cabinet on Tuesday.
Mr Varadkar added that it will "probably" be a date between 19 - 26 of July.