More than 3,000 pubs that are yet to re-open urgently need to be informed of guidelines ahead of the planned July 20 start date, the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) has said.
Across the country, 3,438 pubs remain closed, with many still in the dark of how they will need to adapt their businesses to ensure they comply with the public health requirements.
According to the VFI, the majority of rural pubs are yet to open, particularly along the western seaboard. The county with the largest number of unopened pubs is in Cork with 473, followed by Galway (273), Tipperary (223), Kerry (221), Mayo (Mayo 218) and Donegal (180).
The VFI also states that the delay is also causing anxiety in some rural communities, with many of these unopened pubs serving as the only gathering locations or hospitality venues in their area.
According to Mayo publican Marie Mellett, owner of Mellett’s Bar in Swinford, the lack of guidelines is hampering preparations for reopening.
“After placing public health first by agreeing to close our business over 120 days ago, we’re now crying out for the guidelines that will allow us to reopen,” says Marie.
It’s a simple question: ‘where are the guidelines?’ We are literally just days away from July 20 but there is nothing from the government.
Meanwhile, twenty-six pubs could face prosecution for breaching coronavirus health regulations or licensing laws, gardaí have said.
Gardai carried out 6,830 checks on pubs and restaurants between Friday and Sunday evening.
Pubs that serve food and restaurants reopened to the public last Monday after further restrictions were lifted by the Government.
During Operation Navigation, gardaí said 2,785 individual licensed premises were open for business.
The vast majority - 2,759 - of premises were complying with regulations and licensing laws.
But in a small number of cases - 26 licensed premises - gardaí found potential breaches of the health regulations or licensing laws even after providing the premises with the opportunity to rectify the situation.
Files will now be prepared for the DPP in each of these cases, gardaí said.
In many of the cases, gardaí found customers drinking alcohol but no evidence of food being served or receipts to show food had been sold.