Pubs reopening marks a ‘milestone moment’ in the recovery of the country, according to the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA).
The LVA believes that their reopening will be a signal that the country is on the road back to normality. The association also reiterated the importance of pubs following the guidelines and providing a safe and comfortable environment for their customers and staff once they reopen.
From Monday 29th June, pubs serving food are allowed trade and sell alcohol so long as a meal worth €9 is also served. The Guidelines for Reopening Pubs, published by Failte Ireland in conjunction with the HSA, HSE and NPHET, outline a series of measures publicans must implement to ensure the safety of both the public and staff.
Pubs were the first sector to close en masse across the country, with the majority of pubs shutting their doors on 15th March, a measure that was strongly supported by the LVA and its members to protect public health.
Pubs will have been closed for 105 days by the time the first pubs who serve food reopen this week. During that period of closure the vast majority of pubs had zero income and most of the 50,000 people employed in the industry were unable to work.
The LVA estimates almost 2 out of every 3 pubs in Dublin (approximately 450) will resume trading in the coming days. Wet pubs, or pubs that do not offer food, are due to reopen in three weeks on the 20th July.
It’s a different story for the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI), whose rural member base means that more than 60% of its members are remaining closed until 20th July at the earliest.
“It’s important to remember that the majority of pubs are not opening on 29th June, in fact more than 60% of our members will remain closed until phase four in three weeks’ time. There will be huge scrutiny of the pub trade in the interim, probably to a greater extent than any other sector reopening in phase three. Publicans and their customers are now on a steep learning curve where mutual respect will be crucial,” said VFI Chief Executive Padraig Cribben.
Many pubs have been undertaking extensive work in preparing their premises for reopening. This includes implementing social distancing between tables, closing off bar counters, installing hand sanitizer stations at entrance points and throughout pubs, instigating advance booking procedures, taking steps to collect the name and contact details for the lead member of each group, providing training to staff, creating menus that adhere to the guidelines, ensuring the compliance of their toilet areas as well as many other measures.
Donall O’Keeffe, Chief Executive of the LVA, said: “This is a milestone moment in the reopening of the country as we begin to emerge from the COVID 19 crisis. The closure of the pubs in this country ahead of St. Patrick’s Day made worldwide news. We were the first sector to collectively close across the country and by the time all pubs are able to trade again, we will be the last sector to fully reopen.
“We need to show that not only are the pubs open again, but that they will provide a safe and comfortable environment to their customers and staff.”