IRISH PUBS could reopen six weeks earlier than scheduled if plans being put forward by two of the industry’s biggest independent bodies are approved.
Under the government’s current, five-step plan to lift lockdown restrictions in Ireland, pubs, bars and nightclubs will not be allowed to reopen until August 10 at the very earliest.
However, the Licensed Vintners’ Association (LVA) and the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) have written to the Government as a matter of urgency with a list of radical proposals that could help pubs open six weeks earlier than scheduled.
Both bodies are hoping new arrangements could see pubs opening from the end of June – the same time cafes and restaurants are going to begin reopening in Ireland.
The radical 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.
11 bold proposals have been put forward as part of the plans.
They 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.
Padraig Cribben, Chief Executive of the VFI said: "The public health restrictions will present real challenges to all hospitality venues, it doesn’t matter if they are a pub, a restaurant, a café or a hotel. There is no denying that and there is no getting around it.
"Addressing those public health requirements will be necessary for all hospitality businesses whenever they reopen. Pubs across Ireland are up to that challenge and will do what is required for maintaining a safe and healthy place of business."