The delayed reopening of indoor dining will have a negative impact on hotels who are dependent on guests dining at their restaurants.

The President of the Irish Hotels Federation, Elaina Fitzgerald Kane, said many small hotels do not have a lot of bedrooms and depend on guests spending an evening for dinner.

The Irish Hotels Federation said the news was a crushing blow to businesses in the hospitality sector and the thousands of people who had been looking forward to returning to work next week.

"We absolutely empathise with restaurateurs but equally, we feel the pain of it too."

Hotels are applying safety guidelines devised by Fáilte Ireland in their restaurants, which restaurateurs believe could equally be applied in their premises.

Ms Fitzgerald Kane said the guidelines are being adhered to and are working well in hotels.

"We have built on the practices we had in place last year," she said. "The big difference this year is our guests know what they need to do. I think we are very much socialised in terms of safety and everything that goes with it.

"Everybody wants to make this work, and we have seen great willingness in terms of our teams, and it has been a very successful and very safe reopening so far.

"In terms of running the restaurant, it's exactly the same safety principles and procedures that are in place," she said.

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The IHF the repeated and prolonged closures have been particularly difficult for the wider hospitality sector.

The last-minute decisions are causing enormous challenges for businesses as well as being devastating to the morale of business owners and their teams.

"After weeks of planning and just as they thought they could start the long road to recovery, their plans have effectively been put on hold again. The impact of this delay will be felt far and wide, affecting suppliers and retailers as well as hospitality businesses," Ms Fitzgerald Kane said. "Indeed, in some cases, whole communities rely on the tourism and hospitality industry. Urgent clarity is required on what reopening will look like so business owners can plan effectively and realistically.

Ms Fitzgerald Kane stressed the importance of reopening non-essential international travel, saying it was critical to the recovery of the hospitality sector and the tourism industry in general.

"The domestic market was very important last year and will be again this year. However, it does not replace international visitor numbers. As an island nation international tourism is critically important, accounting for over 70% of tourism revenue pre-Covid."

The IHF President welcomed the news that easing of restrictions on weddings will proceed on July 5 when numbers attending receptions can increase to 50 guests. "The pandemic has had an incredible impact on couples and their families."

"We look forward to the day when all restrictions are lifted. But in the meantime, this pandemic is continuing to disrupt the livelihoods of thousands of business owners and their teams across the wider hospitality sector and every effort must be made to minimise any further impact on them," Ms Fitzgerald Kane stated.