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Christmas socialising for dummies - All of your pub and restaurant questions answered

By James Fenton

December 2, 2020 at 5:14pm

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It's the most wonderful time of the year but due to Covid-19 restrictions, we won't be able to enjoy Christmas like we normally do.

Ireland is reverting to Level 3 restrictions for December, meaning that restaurants and pubs that serve food are allowed to reopen. Despite "demanding" that they should be treated equally by the Government, it seems that so-called wet pubs will not be allowed to welcome customers over the festive period.

However, from December 4, establishments across the city that can provide a dining option will welcome patrons for the first time since October. With everything that's gone on this year and all the changes to restrictions, you might find that it's been hard to keep up with what you're allowed to do.

Below you'll find everything you need to know about socialising over Christmas from how many people can dine together, how long you can stay for and any other questions you might need answered.

Will I be able to enjoy a night out over Christmas?

Since the pandemic began, the importance of individual responsibility has been highlighted. It's been a tough year for everyone and we all deserve a nice meal out and a couple of pints in a cosy pub over Christmas. However, while restrictions have been loosened, coronavirus hasn't gone away.

If you are heading out, be sure to continue to follow public health guidance by washing your hands and maintaining a social distance. HSE advice on preventing the spread of Covid-19 can be found here.

What establishments are allowed to open?

As stated above, restaurants and pubs that serve food are allowed to open. However, food must be made on site in the venue's own kitchen. This differs from the summer easing of restrictions when pubs could partner with nearby businesses to serve food.

Will I need to book ahead?

It depends on the venue. Some places will have a 'walk-in only' rule or a 'first come, first serve' system. Your best bet is to ring up your choice of venue and if they are taking bookings, seal the deal before it's too late.

How many people can I sit with?

There is a maximum number of six people per table. Under the Fáilte Ireland guidelines, multiple table bookings for the same party are not permitted.

How long can we stay for?

Diners will be allowed to stay for one hour and 45 minutes. However, this time limit can be extended if tables are more than two metres apart.

Can I book a meal in a hotel if I'm not staying there?

Yes. Hotels are free to serve people who aren't staying as guests.

Still not sure?

You can read Fáilte Ireland's full set of guidelines for pubs and restaurants this December here.

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