IRELAND’S CHIEF Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan is giving serious thought to proposals from pub industry chiefs that could see bars open six weeks earlier than scheduled.
Under the current government plans for lifting lockdown restrictions, bars, pubs and nightclubs will begin reopening from August 10.
However, the Licensed Vintners’ Association (LVA) and the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) have put forward a list of radical proposals that could help pubs open six weeks earlier.
Both bodies are hoping the plans will allow pubs to reopen from the end of June – the same time cafes and restaurants are going to begin reopening in Ireland.
The changes outlined are designed to help protect public and include a strict limit of six people around any table and an end to standing or sitting at the bar.
Dr Holohan HAS confirmed that the government is taking the proposals into consideration and will respond to the plans in due course.
He said: “There has been correspondence and we are in the process of giving consideration to that and we will respond to them. It’s under consideration at the moment.”
But even if pubs do return ahead of schedule, the National Public Health Emergency Team’s modelling expert Professor Phliip Nolan has warned that no one should expect a return to the normal of before.
“In the distant future when perhaps they are [open], just as I wouldn’t go into a dirty restaurant now I am not going to go into a crowded pub in the future,” he said.
“Each of us has to evaluate the risk. There is no room for complacency.”
The 11 bold proposals have been put forward as part of the plans read as follows:
- Bars will become dispense bars only with no sitting, standing, ordering, payment or drinking at the bar allowed.
- Table service will be a requirement with pubs only serving customers seated at tables.
- The numbers on the premises would be confined to no more than four per every 10 square metres.
- A maximum of six people would be permitted at any one table.
- Customers will be required to use hand sanitiser upon entry.
- All customers must remain seated.
- Staff will be fully trained in the new procedures. They will also be asked to maintain a safe distance from customers when taking orders and to wash their hands thoroughly every 30 minutes.
- The utilisation of outdoor spaces to enhance social distancing.
- Procedures implemented to ensure safe use of toilet facilities, which may include limits on the numbers using toilets at any one time.
- No live music or DJs.
- Gardaí / HSE will have the power to close any business who is flouting the public health guidelines.