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Simon Coveney has said that "it's a possibility" that pubs will open next month

By James Fenton

May 5, 2020 at 12:20pm

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Simon Coveney has said that "it's a possibility" that pubs could reopen on June 29 after publicans proposed a set of social distancing rules yesterday.

On Monday, the Licensed Vintners' Association (LVA) and the Vintners' Federation of Ireland (VFI) proposed a series of rules which could be put in place if pubs are allowed to open during phase 3 of the government's reopening roadmap (from June 29) rather than phase 5 (from August 10) as scheduled. If you missed them yesterday, some of the suggestions are listed below:

  • Bars will become dispense bars only with no sitting, standing, ordering, payment or drinking allowed at the bar itself
  • Table service will be a requirement with pubs only serving customers seated at tables - no more than six to a table - and all customers must remain seated
  • Numbers would be confined to a maximum of four people per 10 square metres
  • Customers will be required to use hand sanitiser upon entering the premises
  • No live music or DJs

During an interview on with Sean O'Rourke on RTE Radio One today, Tanaiste Simon Coveney was asked about the chances pubs opening as early as June 29, to which he replied: "That's a possibility, but I think anything that's proposed to change this plan needs to be rigorously assessed by NPHET and by the Government before we make a decision on that."

He added that "what we've said is we would engage with sectors as government, hear what they have to say, a lot of sectors have put a huge amount of work into creating a new normal, safely, while Covid-19 is still a reality in Ireland."

Phase 1 of the government's roadmap is due to begin on May 18 but Coveney said: "We will obviously have to measure as we go. So every three weeks, and in between those decision points, the Government will debate the issues, take the advice from NPHET, and make decisions either to stick with the plan or to amend it. To either fast forward restrictions, or to delay restrictions, or to reimpose restrictions if that's what's necessary."

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