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02nd Sep 2020

Ministers suggest that the first steps are being taken to reopen ‘wet pubs’

James Fenton

On March 15 of this year, pubs around the country were ordered to close as Ireland introduced restrictions to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

While a number of establishments that served food reopened in June, around 3,500 other ‘wet pubs’ have now gone five full months without being given the opportunity to do the same. As promised reopening dates have come and gone, the Government still hasn’t determined that it’s safe to open these businesses to the public once more. This week, however, we might just be taking the first steps to that scenario becoming a reality.

Speaking on the The Claire Byrne Show on RTE Radio One today, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said that new legislation is being prepared which would allow pubs to “prepare and plan” for a potential reopening.

She added that the Government is currently discussing how to reopen pubs safely and this follows on from Tánaiste Leo Varadkar’s assertion today that pubs should be given a chance to show that they can adhere to public health guidelines.

Minister McEntee added that she would like to see the remainder of pubs reopen and that a roadmap to reopening should be in place by September 13.

Meanwhile, the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) has said that the date will be ‘yet another false dawn’ and a ‘moveable medium term date for our hopes to be repeatedly dashed on.’

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