The government’s plan for the future of Irish pubs was distributed to publicans on Sunday morning ahead of the publication of its medium-term plan as to how the country is to "Live with Covid-19".
This radical plan will for the foreseeable future alter the way in which pubs of all kinds, dry and wet, operate in the world of Covid-19.
Thehas obtained the 25-page plan and below are the main elements for pub owners and customers to abide by when they re-open in the coming weeks.
Overall, the document puts a strong emphasis on social distancing, with terms like ‘physical distancing’, ‘physical distance’, ‘physical barriers’ mentioned 130 times.
While it had been suggested the pubs could re-open as early as the middle of September, such suggestions have been described as “overly optimistic” by senior government sources.
“We have just seen the schools re-opened. We must allow that to bed in and see the impact on the numbers there first. Any re-opening is more likely to be several weeks away,” said one government source.
The plan says that public and private venues or workplaces are considered “controlled environments”.
This includes food and consumption businesses such as restaurants, cafés and pubs and bars.
“Uncontrolled environments are settings where people have open access to the premises and generally don’t know each other and are unlikely to be in close contact with each other for an extended period of time. Examples include supermarkets, retail stores, shopping malls and takeaway-only food outlets,” the document states.
Each workplace should appoint at least one lead worker representative charged with ensuring that Covid-19 measures are strictly adhered to in their workplace.
Hand-washing is a greater protective barrier to infection than wearing disposable gloves. Correct hand hygiene is extremely important, whether using gloves or not, the document states of staff hygiene.
The plan makes clear that a separation of 2 metres between tables is required but this can be reduced to 1 metre if additional steps are taken.
Staff should remain 1 metre apart where possible. No more than 6 people can be located any one table and they must not come from more than 3 different households. This applies to pre-bookings and walk ins.
“Face coverings must be worn by all employees in customer facing roles, unless there is a protective screen in place,” the document states.
Industry sources have given the guidelines a cautious welcome.
“The guidelines will result in a major change for non-food pubs. It won’t be easy for these pubs to implement and remain viable. The industry will accept the guidelines if that is what is required to get the non-food pubs open, as they will be closed for a minimum of 6 months,” an industry source told the.