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Co Donegal hotel offers €2 rooms to locals to circumvent Covid-19 outdoor dining rules

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A Co Donegal hotel has invited locals to book a room for €2 per person sharing, in order to circumvent public health rules on restaurants and permit them to dine indoors.

The Government announced last Thursday that Donegal was moving to Level 3 of the Living with Covid roadmap, which means restaurants and pubs which serve food are only permitted to open for outdoor dining facilities or for takeaway services.

Hotels are also permitted to remain open under this level, but services are limited to residents only.

However, the Beach Hotel, in the village of Downings on the Rosguill peninsula, has told local residents that if they book a room for €2 per person they can dine indoors as they would be considered residents of the venue.

The rooms will be booked for slots of one hour and 45 minutes, and would not be used by the individuals making the booking.

In a post on its Facebook page on Friday, the hotel said: “Adhering to Government guidelines from Saturday 26th of September we are open for residents only and 15 non-residents outside.”

“Why stay out in the cold?? Spoil yourself. Dine indoors, rent one of our rooms and avail of our food and beverage services. Our rooms are currently available to rent for an allotted time. €2 per person sharing all weekend. Don’t miss this one time only offer, when they’re gone, they’re gone.”

The hotel did not respond to requests for comment by The Irish Times at the time of publication.

However, in a comment responding to backlash from local residents underneath the post, the hotel said they are not required to close under the guidelines and that the offer was “aimed to local people in the area”.

“No one will be using the rooms. It is merely a method to allow people to become a resident for a maximum period of 1 hour and 45 minutes so they can avail of our dining and beverage services,” the comment said.

“The Government allows residents to be serviced inside and 15 non-residents outside.”

The hotel added that it will be closed from Monday “until further notice”.

“This was merely a way to recoup our costs from stock ordered for the full house of residents that cancelled on Friday evening. The usual controlled Covid-19 social distancing restrictions apply.”

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