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Radically Different Pub Experience Looming

Is there anything more Irish than the experience of a local pub? The question of when the ‘local’ is re-opening is one of the most debated by those missing their social experiences and thinking around what proposals will facilitate that has begun.

The representative bodies of Ireland’s pubs are seeking an urgent meeting with the government to discuss their blueprint for the re-opening of the sector in Ireland.

The proposals from the pub representatives will make going for a pint a radically different experience and leave many pub owners wondering if even re-opening is a realistic prospect, given the reduction in customer capacity which for many may make their businesses unviable.

The Licensed Vintners’ Association (LVA) and the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) have written to the Government accepting their invitation to discuss the Government Roadmap and its implications for pubs as a matter of urgency.

This follows commitments made by Ministers over the weekend that the Government will meet with the two representative bodies for publicans over course of the coming week.

As part of their discussions with the Government, the two organisations will be pressing for pubs to reopen at the same time and on the same basis as cafes and restaurants.

Recognising the challenge of maintaining social distancing in a hospitality environment, the organisations will also be putting forward radical changes to the normal operations of bars in order to protect public health.

These measures include:

*Bars will become dispense bars only with no sitting, standing, ordering, payment or drinking at the bar allowed.

  • 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 4 per every 10 square metres.
  • A maximum of 6 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 or the HSE will have the power to close any business who is flouting the public health guidelines.

Strict protocols setting out how staff and customers are required to comply with social distancing in hospitality businesses will be developed in conjunction with National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) and the Department of Health.

Those protocols would apply to all hospitality businesses. The publican groups would look to have the temporary measures reviewed by NPHET on an ongoing basis, with a view to resuming normal trading when it is safe to do so.

Like a lot of businesses the pub trade landscape will look radically different in the months ahead. Here’s hoping some normality can be resumed in the not too distant future.

We’ll drink to that.