When will pubs be reopening in Ireland?
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When will pubs be reopening in Ireland?

IT'S the question on everyone's lips ... our parched, dry lips ... which haven't felt the cool, soothing embrace of the rim of a pint glass in what should rightly be an illegal amount of time. Where're the beer police?

Sure, it isn't the only question people are asking. There are plenty more pertinent, and more important queries to be queried, but this a question the Irish public have been asking non-stop for nearly a year, so it's worth us trying to answer:

When will pubs be reopening?

In short, no one actually knows yet. Everything is set to stay as it us until April 5, when the first easing of lockdown restrictions will begin, but in all likelihood it will be a lot further down the line before we see pubs open their doors.

What does the new Living With Covid plan say about pubs?

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Very little, unfortunately, although we rather suspect this to be intentional. The Government has frequently spoken of a 'cautious reopening' and it's likely they don't want to over promise on any reopening dates to avoid annoying the public if and when those dates get pushed back.

What has the Taoiseach said?

He's been rather coy, but Micheál Martin has given us some clues.

Earlier this month, he said that consideration for pubs to re-open would not be given until at least mid-summer, when a sizeable proportion of the country has been vaccinated against Covid-19.

For now, Martin insists that Ireland's priority is to continue with the vaccination roll-out, and to open the nation's schools.

Comparing Ireland to the UK

As per Prime Minister Boris Johnson's announcement earlier this month, the UK has earmarked June 21 as the date when all Covid-19 restrictions will be lifted. The British Government has also said that they will look to open the hospitality sector back up around April 12.

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On this day, pubs will be able to serve customers sitting outdoors only, and there will be limits on how many people can sit together.

On May 17, pubs will be able to seat customers indoors, though there will still be limits on the number of people sitting together.

And on June 21, all restrictions will be lifted, should everything go according to plan.

The Irish Government has adamantly refused to offer a concrete timeline for the reopening of society, unlike their British counterparts, but presuming that both governments will be using the same metrics and applying the same logic to their reopening strategy, we can make some estimations.

The UK is opening pubs up around the time everyone over 50, as well as anyone with an underlying health condition, has been vaccinated.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said earlier this month that the Government hopes to be vaccinating around 300,000 people per week by May, and suggested that once the over 60 age group had been vaccinated, Ireland's job would be "98% done".

He said that the target was to have this done by the end of June.

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Conclusion

It all depends on the success of the vaccination roll-out. Last month's Covid-19 vaccine supply issues demonstrated how easy it is for things to go awry, but, presuming everything goes to plan, pubs will probably be opening some time around mid to late June.

They will likely open with restrictions initially, but they will gradually be eased as more vaccines are administered towards the end of the summer.