CEO of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, Adrian Cummins, reacts to the reopening guidelines released this morning
At 7.30am this morning, Tuesday 9th June, reopening guidelines for the restaurant industry were released which have been developed by Fáilte Ireland for the government.
The highly-anticipated guidelines were immediately a hot topic on social media with many businesses and people within the restaurant and café industry expressing frustration and disappointment.
After a day of queries, confusion and anguish in some cases, we spoke with Adrian Cummins, CEO of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, to get his reactions and what advice he can give.
fft.: What is your reaction to the restaurant reopening guidelines published at 7.30am this morning?
Adrian Cummins: “They are not workable. For our industry, the two metres social distancing rules that are part of the guidelines means that 90% of restaurants won’t open on 29th June.
There is an issue around the separate groups, that are not members of the same household, so must remain two metres apart – that’s not workable either. That is not in line with the public health advice that we’ve been hearing from ministers for the last week or so.
The ban on sharing plates, which is part-and-parcel of our hospitality industry, is not workable also.
So, there are a lot of outstanding issues, a lot of challenges, and people are getting very, very frustrated.”
Were you surprised about the non-movement in the guidelines with only three weeks until opening?
“I would expect that there is a date in time between now and the 29th June where we will move to a metre. That we will be given some sort of ‘D-Day’ date that we’ll know that that’s the date we are moving to one metre, subject to the low number of cases remaining the same.
To me, by not telling us or giving us any indication, that doesn’t give any confidence to a business to try and bring back staff, to re-employ staff and get them trained up for the 29th… Time is money for our industry and there has been a lot of revenue lost in the last number of months and this needs to move at pace now to get our industry back up and motion for the 29th June.”
What advice would you give to businesses and people who are concerned about what to do?
“Don’t spend any money, that’s the first point. Don’t spend another cent of your money until we know that we’re ready to open up on the 29th. Because this is a living document, as the Minister keeps telling us, and that will change. We hope to get the change faster for our members so that they know where they stand. They need to stand with us. We are doing our best to try and help them. They need to contact their local politician as well and highlight their concerns.
Hold with us. We’re working through it. It’s not as fast as we want it, but I think we will get there in the end, however they need to stay the course with us for another week or so. At least they can see the broad strokes of the guidelines.
We have captured all of the concerns incorporated with it. However, it’s out of our control and is in the control of the public health officials. These are Fáilte Ireland developed guidelines. You’ll see from the guidelines that we haven’t endorsed them with our branding yet, because we’re not 100% confident in them yet, but when we get to 100% confidence, we’ll put our name and logo to it.
People should get in touch with us with their concerns. We’re here to serve and lobby on their behalf.”
Reactions to the guidelines from those in the restaurant industry were swift.
Your safety & that of my wonderful team are my highest priority & I just don’t think we can adhere to the proposed guidelines given the size and layout of our restaurants
So for the next while, we will remain doing what we are doing, providing freshly cooked meals for collection
— Gaz (@MichaelsCoDub) June 9, 2020
Oscars Seafood –
It’s a living document, give it a couple of weeks at 2m then review it and drop to 1.5m if appropriate. The majority of the public want 2m and may turn on restaurants if they are perceived to be reckless. Safety must be central.
— Oscars Seafood (@OscarsGalway) June 9, 2020
Fusion & Old Barracks Roastery
How do we plan capacity? Take bookings when our capacity could change? Decide on staff numbers to rehire? Purchase signage for 2m when it could be 1m when we reopen?
— Fusion (@Fusionroscommon) June 9, 2020
Mary McCabe –
Anyone in government even think the costs of buying in signage, table dividers etc.. while trying to set up with 2 metres planning staff requirements and at the last minute change it to 1 metre seems very unfair… @SMERecoveryIrl #guidelines #irisbusiness #SMEs
— Mary McCabe KDL (@mmcabe25) June 9, 2020
JP McMahon –
Very disappointed. These guidelines represent an end to many in our industry.
— Jp McMahon (@mistereatgalway) June 9, 2020