Vintners propose 'radical' plan that would let pubs reopen in June

Vintners propose 'radical' plan that would let pubs reopen in June

Publicans want to reopen their bars six weeks earlier than scheduled in the government's pandemic plan.

Trade groups have offered up a "radical" plan that would limit the number of people on the premises, ban live music, and make pubs table service only.

They hope to convince public health authorities to let them get back to work under those arrangements from the end of June instead of August 10.

Licenced Vintners Association chief executive Donal O'Keeffe says pub owners want them to be treated the same as cafés and restaurants.

“We fully respect the need to continue to protect the public health," he said.

"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 3, 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."

    Some of the measures the LVA are willing to put in place are:
  • Bars will become dispense bars only with no sitting, standing, ordering, payment or drinking at the counter allowed
  • Table service will be a requirement only customers seated at tables being served
  • 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
  • The utilisation of outdoor spaces to enhance social distancing
  • No live music or DJs
  • Gardaí or the HSE will have the power to close any business who is flouting the public health guidelines

“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 wellbeing of staff and customers alike.”

Padraig Cribben, chief executive of the VFI, said the groups hoped to meet Health Minister Simon Harris and Business Minister Heather Humphreys this week.

“We have now written to the Government to ensure this meeting happens at the earliest possible opportunity,” he added.

“What is clear is that the current road map 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 cafe 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.”

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