THE IRISH public are chomping at the bit to get back to the pub with many of the bars due to reopen this week already booked up for the next week or more.
Pubs across Ireland are set to begin reopening from Monday as the next phase or Ireland’s road map for lifting lockdown begins.
Social distancing measures will be in players, while several other strict rules designed to help combat any potential spread of Covid-19.
They include rules meaning customers can only stay for a maximum of 105 minutes.
Any reopening bar must also be able to serve and sell “substantial meals” costing at least €9 in accordance with guidance issued by Failte Ireland.
Most crucially of all, patrons are required to book ahead of arrival.
An estimated 450 pubs in Dublin alone are expected to reopen – but punters could find it tricky to bag themselves a table in the next week or so.
According to one pub owner who spoke to the Irish Mirror, there has been a surge in demand, with at least one pub already fully booked for the next nine days.
The owner of Clancy’s bar in Youghal in Co Cork, Padraig Hennessy, told the Irish Sunday Mirror: “We went live with our bookings about two and a half weeks ago and when we put a link on to our web page it went absolutely mental.
“It’s just crazy. We seat about 120 and then another 40 outside so with working with the hour and half slots we are booked up for around nine days now already.
“Even today when I was out the front of the pub around 14 people walked up and asked if we were open.”
Clancy’s Bar is one of several to be completely booked up for the first week of opening with slots in other weeks quickly filling up.
Despite social distancing measures and the other restrictions in place, it would appear that people are desperate to return to some form of normality with a trip to their local pub.
And with Guinness busy over the past few weeks preparing bars for the imminent reopening plans, it would appear Ireland is on the edge of a significant step back towards some form of normality.