The Government Information Service issued further clarification late last night (Tuesday 3rd September) regarding new Guidelines for Restaurant
The Restaurants Association of Ireland are in direct contact with the highest level of Government, highlighting the issues around implementing this new Statutory Instrument. SI No. 326 of 2020 – Health Act 1947 (Section 31A – Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) (No. 4) Regulations 2020.
Government Announcement – 3rd September 2020
Because of the highly contagious nature of COVID-19 and the fact that it spreads where people are close together and maybe letting their guard down accidentally, the Regulations provide that a business or service that is selling or supplying alcohol for consumption on the premises may not open to the public except where alcohol is ordered at the same time as a substantial meal is ordered, during the meal or after the meal has ended, and consumed by that member during the meal or after the meal has ended. This regulation is aimed at allowing controlled environments like restaurants and pubs operating as restaurants to open.
Because this is a penal provision, it should be clearly recorded that the place a person is in has served a meal as well as alcohol. This record could take the form of a note in a book or a copy of the receipt. It is not necessary to record in minute detail what the person was served, but it is necessary to be able to demonstrate that each person was served a substantial meal as provided for in the regulations.
It is fully appreciated that the requirement on restaurants and pubs operating as restaurants to keep a record of the fact that a substantial meal was served places an extra duty on these businesses, but if the regulations are to be enforced and keep us all safe then there must be evidence to support them.
Restaurants are asked to keep records for 28 days. This is to facilitate contact tracing in the case of an incidence of COVID-19 at the restaurant. A record of the meals served could be kept separately and for a different time period, but this would simply place an extra administrative burden on the restaurant. Therefore, the most practical thing is for all of the relevant information on the booking to be held together for 28 days.