RESTAURANT OWNERS and publicans in Dublin have expressed their frustration as the Government is expected to introduce new measures to stem the spread of coronavirus.
Under new measures expected to be announced today, pubs and restaurants will not be allowed to serve customers indoors-- instead, all food and drink must be served in specialised outdoor settings.
The Level 3 restrictions will last for at least three weeks, and while 'wet' pubs in Dublin have been closed since mid-March, many will remain closed past the planned reopening of 21 September.
If not dining outdoors, restaurants, cafés and pubs which serve food would only be allowed to operate on a takeaway basis.
According to The Herald, Restaurant and Vintner representatives have reacted furiously to the news, with Restaurant Association of Ireland CEO Adrian Cummins saying the move is a "hospitality lockdown by stealth".
"If the restrictions move to outdoor dining only plus takeaway for restaurants this will wipe out many businesses across the capital who are currently struggling financially," Mr Cummins said.
"This puts every restaurant across the capital on the verge of permanent closure and thousands of job losses."
A spokesperson for the Licensed Vintners Association agreed that the ban on indoor dining was just "another means of shutting down" pubs; the LVA had previously accused the National Public Health Emergency Team of being "anti-pub" in their approach to slowing the spread of the virus.
"According to the latest Health Protection Surveillance Centre data there are zero open outbreaks associated with pubs," the spokesperson claimed yesterday.
"How does punishing the pubs help combat a rise in infections that clearly aren't coming from pubs? Most of which are still closed, their doors shut by order of the Government for over six months?
"Is anyone going to start asking NPHET why they are focusing on the hospitality sector when the outbreaks are clearly in other settings?"