People will not be required to buy a substantial meal in order to have a drink in a pub when outdoor service resumes next month, the Tánaiste has said.

Leo Varadkar told the Oireachtas Committee on Enterprise, Trade and Employment this morning that the guidelines on outdoor dining and drinking, which will be permitted from 7 June, are currently being drafted.

He said it would be seated only, with six people to a table and tables would probably be 1 metre to 1.5 metres apart.

He told the committee that there would be no time limits and people will not be required to buy a substantial meal in order to have a drink in a pub.

Mr Varadkar also said he hopes indoor dining will resume in early July.


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He said he is "very hopeful that we can return to something close to normality by late summer".

The Fine Gael leader said the "vaccination programme is picking up momentum, administering approximately 270,000 vaccines per week. Nearly 40% of our adult population has had at least one dose."

Call for full indoor dining from 2 June

The CEO of the Restaurants Association of Ireland said grant aid needs to be delivered as quickly as possible to businesses who want and can provide outdoor dining, otherwise there will be greater demand than supply.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Adrian Cummins said the roll-out of the outdoor dining scheme is very slow across the country and "some local authorities haven't even put forward their proposed locations for outdoor dining schemes".

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He said the association welcomed the Tánaiste's call around outdoor dining for the 20% of businesses that can avail of it and bookings are coming in "fast and furious" for the limited capacity available.

Mr Cummins reiterated the RAI's call that the resumption of indoor dining in restaurants, gastropubs and coffee shops also takes place on 2 June, the same day that hotels re-open.