Publican groups call for full release of pub reopening guidelines

Publican groups call for full release of pub reopening guidelines

Publican groups have called for guidelines to reopening to be published immediately.

The Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) and the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) said that the drip feed of information is creating more questions than answers.

Fáilte Ireland announced that it has been told by health officials there could be “certain circumstances” where restaurants are allowed to adhere to a one-metre social distancing rule.

It also said the meals sold in such premises must be “of a kind for which it would be reasonable to charge not less than €9”.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan has previously said pubs operating as restaurants would not mean people meeting up “for a few pints and having a packet of peanuts”.

The guidelines due to be issued this week state food on offer would “be expected to be served as a main midday or evening meal or as a main course in either such meal”.

The LVA and the VFI have questioned why Fáilte Ireland did not release the pub guidelines at the same time as those published for the rest of the hospitality sector.

The representative groups have highlighted some of the questions that are still to be addressed around the guidelines:

  • What are the full guidelines that will apply to pubs who serve food reopening on the 29 June?
  • What are the full guidelines that will apply to pubs from the 20 July, when all other pubs are due to reopen?
  • Will the €9 meal requirement be removed for pubs after 20 July?
  • What contract tracing measures will be required of pubs under these guidelines?
  • Why didn’t Fáilte Ireland publish the guidelines for pubs at the same time as those released for restaurants, cafes and the rest of the hospitality sector?

Donall O’Keeffe, Chief Executive of the LVA, said: “The drip feed release of these guidelines has been handled in a completely arbitrary manner, which is sowing confusion throughout the industry.

“Pubs who serve food are due to reopen on Monday week, but they still don’t have clarity as to what will be required of them.

“These businesses need time to get their premises ready, to ensure their pubs are fully compliant while offering a safe and comfortable environment for their customers and staff.

“To avoid any further uncertainty, the guidelines for the industry should be immediately published in full.

“We need to know what will be required of pubs on the 29 June and what will be required of pubs on 20 July, it’s that simple.” 

Padraig Cribben, Chief Executive of the VFI, added: “There is no reason why the publication of the pub guidelines should have been delayed this long.

“The absence of the detailed guidelines is generating speculation which will hamper the efforts of pubs getting ready to reopen.

“This has been a very uncertain time for the industry and instead of having a clear understanding of what will be required we’re left with a lot more questions than answers.

“It’s almost as if the guidelines are a puzzle which publicans have to try to piece together.” 

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