Irish publican praised for 'brilliant' proposal on how pubs and restaurants could reopen safely

Irish publican praised for 'brilliant' proposal on how pubs and restaurants could reopen safely

AN IRISH publican has come up with a 'brilliant' idea which could see pubs reopen safely, earlier and with higher capacity.

Noel Anderson is the managing director of Dublin venues The Bridge 1859 and the Lemon & Duke, and is also the Chair of the Licensed Vinters Association which represents pubs in Ireland's capital.

Pubs across Ireland have been closed for the better part of a year now, particularly those which do not sell food, due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, and all hospitality and non-essential retail have been closed since before Christmas following a worrying spike in infections.

The number of daily reported cases have dropped significantly since Ireland's third wave in winter, but are still too high to consider reopening the economy or allow households visits-- although Taoiseach Micheál Martin says some outdoor activities may be allowed at some point in April.

While there are no dates set in stone as to when the hospitality industry might open its doors to the public again, publican Noel Anderson has come up with an idea that could see the industry reopen safely and with higher capacity.

Mr Anderson took to Twitter where he made the proposal that "if hospitality is to start outdoors wouldn't it be great if the inside was used for the vaccinated elderly.

"It would give them all a welcome change and also help the business survive and rebuild. A win win."

He later added that "by the time outside [dining] is a runner the over 55s would be well vaccinate by then", as would front-line workers.

The suggestion has made waves on social media, with many praising the idea-- and although the government or public health team have not responded to the suggestion, it got the thumbs up from a Fianna Fáil senator.

Seanad Éireann spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade and Employment Ollie Crowe responded to the suggestion stating it was a "brilliant idea", adding "Surely we can make this happen".

Ireland has hit a number of bumps in the road with regards to its vaccine rollout, particularly with ongoing issues relating to the supply of the vaccines, however the government remains confident that 80% of the adult population will have received their first dose of the vaccine by June.

At the time of writing, there have been a total of 523,069 Covid-19 vaccine doses administered; 373,149 people have received the first dose, while 149,920 people have received the first and second dose.