Pubs should close if crowds gather outside – Government official

Pubs offering takeaway drinks should also consider closing if large groups gather outside their premises, senior officials have said
Pubs should close if crowds gather outside – Government official

Pubs should consider closing if large groups gather outside their premises, officials have warned. Picture are Gardaí on the scene at South William Street in Dublin city centre. Picture: An Garda Síochána/Twitter

Pubs offering takeaway drinks should consider closing if large groups are gathering outside their premises, a senior Government official has suggested.

A warning has also been issued around "de facto Christmas parties" which should not go ahead this year.

Restaurants and gastropubs have been urged not to take bookings for multiple restaurant tables while companies should not try to get around the restrictions by doing so.

The Government is asking businesses not to allow large parties reserve multiple tables, as it goes against the spirit of level 3 restrictions.

Restaurants, cafes and gastro pubs are now allowed serve indoors after restrictions were lifted.

This can't be a de facto Christmas party, you will not be allowed to leave your table or swap seats, that's very much what we're asking.

"But really what we are saying to people is don't go in and expect someone to tell you what you can do, you know what you can do.

"So, take a bit of responsibility and I think that's what we are trying to say to people," a senior Government official said.

While the Government is not directing businesses to close if customers gather in large crowds on the streets outside, they would encourage people to "act together".

It comes after a number of incidences in both Dublin and Cork city centres saw crowds congregate on streets.

The guidance issued to businesses does include direction around smoking areas outside and restaurants are expected to try to control that "at the very least".

We did hear of some pubs in particular, making a decision to close and that's very hard thing for them to do to do, but if people act together I think that's really important."

The official stressed it is not the responsibility of businesses to shut and it would be a "huge ask" for them to do so.

"We have heard anecdotally of businesses that actually said 'we don't like what we're seeing outside our doors, we're going to close up shop', but what would be really great if they act in consort. I mean that's a huge ask, we do realise that, so nothing is their responsibility. But we do think this weekend is going to set a marker for how we're going to try and do this right."

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