Pubs in Limerick and across the country are set to reopen on September 21
PUBS which do not serve food will be able to re-open from September 21 next.
The move has been welcomed by local publicans Cllr Jerry O’Dea, Mulgrave Street and Mary Cronin, Meanus, who have urged the government to stick by this date now, having announced three dates previously.
In a joint statement, the Vintners Federation of Ireland and the Licensed Vintners Association said: “It’s about time”.
Pubs were the first part of the economy to close at the beginning of the crisis, with pubs across the country closing their doors in the interest of public health on March 15, 2020.
Government had previously delayed re-openings scheduled for July 20, August 10 and then August 31, with 35,000 pubs nationwide remaining shuttered.
Strict guidelines have been put forward by the Government which will require table service only. The guidelines also put a strong emphasis on social distancing.
Cllr O’Dea said: “Obviously, pubs not just in Limerick but around Ireland feel they can impelement social distancing and want the opportunity to do that. It’s an overdue decision, and we’re glad it’s been made. Certainly, some of our own customers, our business would be very local and a lot of our customers have missed the contact and the social connection. They’ll be delighted. There’s a caveat, so we just hope Limerick can avoid any kind of lockdown”.
Ms Cronin, who runs the Hogan Stand pub in Meanus gave a cautious welcome.
She said: “It is a huge relief that they are going to let us open. I sincerely hope they will stick to the date. We’ve been here a few times, and they’ve pulled the rug from under us. Our customers will be delighted, there’s a good lot. They keep ringing to ask me, when, when. At least now we have a date. But we really need government to stick to it.”
Draft government guidelines, which were drawn up in conjunction with Fáilte Ireland, were circulated to vintners' groups last weekend.
They are broadly the same as those that have been brought in for pubs where food is being served.
These include keeping customer records for contact tracing purposes and time slots that are limited to one hour and 45 minutes where physical distancing of one metre can be maintained.
However, time slots of 105 minutes would not be a requirement where physical distancing of two metres can be "strictly maintained".