The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) says that while anomalies remain in the guidelines for pubs compared to guidelines for night clubs, the partial reopening of bar counters is a welcome development that will ease the staffing burden on publicans.
From tomorrow customers in pubs will be allowed order at the bar counter before returning to their seats with their purchase. This is a change to the current guidelines that allows only table service and will reduce the number of staff required in pubs. Night clubs will also follow the same rules for the bar counter and will be prohibited from allowing customers sit or congregate at the counter.
Normal trading hours will also resume from Friday while the requirement to provide proof of immunity will be retained for some time to come.
Anomalies remain in the guise of 100% capacity permitted in night clubs while social distancing in pubs will significantly reduce capacity in those venues.
Padraig Cribben, VFI Chief Executive, says: “The new guidelines allow customers order at the bar counter which will have a big impact for publicans struggling to find lounge staff. We also welcome the reopening of night clubs and note clubs must follow the same restrictions as pubs in relation to bar counters.
“While we welcome the reopening of night clubs we now have the anomaly where clubs can operate at 100% capacity but pubs must operate at reduced capacity because customers will not be allowed stand or congregate at the bar. This will lead to a farcical situation where 1,000 people can dance or stand around drinking in a nightclub but a small number of customers cannot sit at the bar of their local pub or, indeed, play darts or pool.
“It’s obvious these guidelines were issued by Government without any meaningful consultation with the hospitality sector. We now have to work with members to implement changes that go live in less than 24 hours,” concludes Mr Cribben.