Restaurants will be allowed to open their doors to patrons for the first time in two months come Friday, as COVID-19 restrictions are eased in an attempt to restart the economy. 

But if you are tempted to head out for a bite to eat, keep in mind that your dining experience will be somewhat different to what you were used to just a few months ago. 

All eateries were ordered to shut in mid-March and have only been able to offer takeaway or delivery services since then, with the threat of a €3,000 fine for any law-breakers.

That will change come Friday, when restaurants - together with hairdressers, hotels and outdoor pools - will be allowed to resume their regular business activity, provided they adhere to some specific rules.

All restaurants will have to: 

• Replace menus and wine lists with single-use ones
• Offer disposable or single-use condiments (oil, ketchup  etc) 
• Limit table sizes to no more than six people or people from the same
• Extend service time, to avoid overcrowding 
• Keep items on tables to a minimum

Diners seated in outdoor spaces will have to be kept at least 2m apart, with a minimum of 1m between chairs, back-to-back. 

For diners seated indoors, restaurant managers must limit patrons to one for every four square metres and will have to ensure at least 2m between chairs, back-to-back. 

Waiters and staff will wear face masks or visors. No buffet or other self-service will be allowed and there will be no bar service available, with drinks taken to patrons at tables. 

Guests should be reminded to disinfect their hands using sanitiser, both as they enter and exit. 

If you are a smoker, you will still be able to buy cigarettes from vending machines in restaurants, which will be equipped with hand santiser alongside them. But you will not be allowed to light up within 10m of the seating area.


Although indoor pools will remain shut, outdoor pools can reopen. 

Their capacity will be restricted to 50 per cent of the maximum and umbrellas, sunbeds and deck chairs must be disinfected after each use. 

Public toilets and changing rooms must be disinfected every hour and limited to four people at any one time. 

Sunbathers on sunbeds around pools must be kept 2m apart. 

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