A plan conceived by Irish bar owners, publicans and vintners associations has been put forward in the hopes of reopening establishments closed by COVID-19.
The proposal would see the establishments radically change the way they operate in hopes to convince public health officials to allow bars to reopen six weeks earlier than planned.
As it stands, pubs are not expected to reopen until 10 August at the very earliest, as per the phased system set to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced on Friday night.
Both the Licensed Vintners' Association (LVA) and the Vintners' Federation of Ireland (VFI) have announced that they are hoping new arrangements could see pubs opening from the end of June, alongside cafes and restaurants.
In a statement released on Sunday, both organisations said that they propose a number of radical changes to the normal operations of bars in order to protect public health.
These include the use of hand sanitiser upon entry, required table service and the utilisation of outdoor spaces to enhance social distancing.
All of the proposed changes are as follows:
- 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 10 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. They will also be asked to maintain a safe distance from customers when taking orders and to wash their hands thoroughly 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.
"The public health restrictions will present real challenges to all hospitality venues, it doesn’t matter if they are a pub, a restaurant, a café or a hotel," Padraig Cribben, Chief Executive of the VFI said.
"There is no denying that and there is no getting around it.
"Addressing those public health requirements will be necessary for all hospitality businesses whenever they reopen. Pubs across Ireland are up to that challenge and will do what is required for maintaining a safe and healthy place of business.
"We were pleased to see Minister Humphreys and Minister Harris commit to organising a meeting this week to discuss the reopening of pubs in line with restaurants and cafés. We have now written to the Government to ensure this meeting happens at the earliest possible opportunity.
"What is clear is that the current roadmap plan isn't tenable and will lead to confusion in the hospitality sector if it is not addressed."
The full statement conducted by the VFI and LVA can be seen here.