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    The Restaurants Association of Ireland has said that the reaction from the sector to this evening's announcement from the Taoiseach is "one of disbelief, confusion and frustration".

    They have questioned why restaurant customers must dine on the street, whilst hotel guests can eat and drink indoors.

    They say the announcement has "divided the hospitality industry", and that there is "no medical or public health reason to keep restaurants and cafés restricted if hotels reopen".

    "We are calling on the Government to publish the medical and scientific evidence deeming a hotel or guesthouse restaurant safer than an independent restaurant, coffee shop or gastro pub," chief executive Adrian Cummins said.

    "Restaurants, hotels, cafes and gastropubs have all followed and implemented the exact same safety protocols for diners since June of last year. I want to be clear, if the medical advisors have decided it is now safe for indoor dining then Hotels should reopen – what we are asking for is Indoor Dining Equality and to reopen at the same time!"

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