Sunday 07 June 2020

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Cork Independent


Pubs let down by new guidelines

Thursday, 7th May, 2020 11:57am

Representatives from licensed premises are hoping their proposed new guidelines will be taken on board as redundancies are on the cards if bars can't open.

It comes as the Licensed Vintners’ Association (LVA) and the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) have written to the Government accepting their invitation to discuss the Government roadmap to re-open businesses announced last Friday and its implications for pubs as a matter of urgency.

This follows commitments made by ministers that the Government will meet with the two representative bodies for publicans over the course of the coming week.

As part of their discussions with the Government, the two organisations will be pressing for pubs to reopen at the same time and on the same basis as cafés and restaurants.

Recognising the challenge of maintaining social distancing in a hospitality environment, the organisations will also be putting forward radical changes to the normal operations of bars in order to protect public health.

These measures include:

• Bars will become dispense bars only with no sitting, standing, ordering, payment or drinking at the bar allowed

• Table service will be a requirement, with pubs only serving customers seated at tables

• The numbers on the premises would be confined to no more than four per every ten 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 and they will also be asked to maintain a safe distance from customers when taking orders and to wash hands every 30 minutes

• The utilisation of outdoor spaces to enhance social distancing

• Procedures implemented to ensure safe use of toilet facilities, which may include limits on the numbers using toilets at any one time

• No live music or DJs

• Gardaí/HSE will have the power to close any business who is flouting the public health guidelines


Speaking to the paper, Michael O’Donovan, Cork City Chairperson of the VFI and proprietor of the Castle Inn, said he hopes talks with the Government will be fruitful.

He said: “Bars that have a food offering are feeling very let down that they can’t open at the same time as cafés and restaurants. They felt that if cafés and restaurants can follow the guidelines so can they and in that respect the news that they can’t open was disappointing.”

He said that wet bars - ones that only serve alcohol - could follow the same guidelines but it may not be financially viable for them. He explained: “Wet bars, just like our own, will have to really think about whether it’s financially viable to open. There’s many costs like rates and insurance that will need to be paid. There’s also staff and product costs that need to be factored in as well as new sanitisation costs. Costs will be higher and your income and revenue will be down by 60-70 per cent so it just doesn’t add up financially to open and the Government will have to decide if it can subsidise bars, if they open. I hope the Government will listen to us because if bars can’t open, it will mean redundancies.”

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