The Licensed Vintners' Association (LVA) and the Vintners' Federation of Ireland (VFI) have accepted an invitation from the government to discuss the government roadmap and its implications for pubs.
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 cafés and restaurants.
The organisations will also be putting forward a list of radical changes to the normal operations of bars that are meant 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;
- 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, and will 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 the use of toilet facilities, which may include limits on the numbers using toilets at any one time;
- no live music or DJs;
- and gardaí / HSE will have the power to close any business that is flouting the public health guidelines.
Chief Executive Statements
LVA chief executive Donall O'Keeffe stated, "We fully respect the need to continue to protect the public health. We have repeatedly proven this commitment, not least in the fact that our sector was the first to close across the country. We also believe that if other venues who serve food and alcohol are allowed to reopen in phase three, then pubs should be granted the same opportunity to trade. We don't believe it is in any way appropriate that the government should apply one rule for some hospitality businesses and another rule for others.
"We are making a series of radical proposals to how bars should operate for the reopening scenario. Trading will be extremely difficult under these circumstances. There is no doubt that the pub experience as we know it will have to change dramatically. Many pubs may choose not to reopen as it simply won't be financially viable under these conditions. However, for those who want to trade, these measures will have the essential impact of protecting the health and well-being of staff and customers alike."
Meanwhile, VFI chief executive Padraig Cribben commented, "We were pleased to see Minister Humphreys and Minister Harris commit to organising a meeting this week to discuss the reopening of pubs in line with restaurants and cafés. We have now written to the government to ensure this meeting happens at the earliest possible opportunity. What is clear is that the current roadmap plan isn't tenable and will lead to confusion in the hospitality sector if it is not addressed.
"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."
© 2020 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.