An independent TD has sharply criticised the new and updated guidelines issued by Fáilte Ireland for restaurants describing them as “bizarre” and a “step too far”.
The new guidelines suggest that no more than six people are allowed at a table in restaurants and cafés and that a record must be kept of what customers order and such records must be kept on file for 28 days.
Deputy Mattie McGrath who raised concerns surrounding the old guidelines with NPHET last week has expressed his surprise at the most recent announcement.
“Last week, I questioned NPHET on the farcical requirement in relation to the €9 meals and NPHET responded that this was never their recommendation and they never sought such requirements.”
‘Where is your right to privacy gone?’
“This week, Fáilte Ireland has taken it one step further and now expect businesses to not only restrict tables to 6 people and keep contact details, but restaurants are now also expected to keep a record of what customers ordered for a period of 28 days.”
“What on earth is the purpose of this requirement?” asked McGrath.
The deputy expressed concerns over the “disappearance” of GDPR rules since the onset of Covid as personal information down to what someone has consumed must now be held in restaurants for 28 days.
“It was laughable to think that purchasing a €9 meal would somehow protect you from the Coronavirus, but now they want to know exactly what you have had to eat on a night out.”
“Where is your right to privacy gone and what is the purpose of such records?” continued McGrath
The guidelines were introduced on foot of a statutory instrument introduced by the Minister for Health and Deputy McGrath says that they go to the “heart” of his concerns about legislation being debated in Dáil Éireann this week.
‘Unreasonable demands and increased workload’
McGrath has opposed and expressed serious concerns about the Criminal Justice (Enforcement Powers) (Covid 19) Bill 2020 due to the powers they give to the Minister for Health to introduce by way of statutory instruments whatever measures he sees fit “or otherwise” to deal with Covid 19 with “no accountability” to Dáil Éireann.
“There are serious questions surrounding the powers being given to the Minster for Health to introduce whatever regulations he wishes without consent of, or accountability to Dáil Éireann and these regulations are a perfect example.”
“What is the purpose of these requirements, who has access to the records and why would such records be required in the first instance?”
“Keeping a record of what customers have eaten is hardly going to stop the spread of Covid-19 and this measure is quite simply bizarre.”
“It is only putting unreasonable demands and increased workload on restaurants who are already struggling to stay afloat under current guidelines.” continued McGrath.
Concluding Deputy McGrath said that while restaurants keeping records of who attended and what they consumed may not seem like a big deal, “we really have to question and oppose giving un-necessary powers to government that limit, restrict or question our freedoms in such a manner”.