IDAHO Café in Cork is calling for the government to provide clarity to restaurants and cafés across Ireland as the country prepares for the possible easing of Covid-19 restrictions.
Richard Jacob from Idaho Café took to social media to outline the issues with outdoor dining during the winter, suggesting that ventilation could be an alternative option.
This Christmas, let’s not try to bring Restaurants into the fresh air. ☔️— Richard Jacob (@idahocafe) November 11, 2020
Let’s bring fresh air into our Restaurants and keep our customers safe.
A heartfelt Christmas message to our Government about #Covid_19
Tag your local TD or Minister. pic.twitter.com/AACVHZYLAL
Speaking to The Echo, Richard Jacob said that clarity is needed on what restrictions can be expected once Ireland comes to the end of a six-week period of Level 5 restrictions on 1 December.
“The whole of idea of outdoor dining in the summer in Ireland has been lovely but really, it’s not practical for Autumn/Winter in Ireland.
"So much emphasis has been placed on the fact that you can open up and eat outside but it is effectively saying that the restaurants are closed but without the government having to admit that they are closed,” he said.
Currently, under Level 3 restrictions, restaurants, cafés and bars can only operate with outdoor dining, while a move to Level 4 would mean that they are restricted to takeaway only.
Mr Jacob said that by placing more emphasis on air ventilation indoors, the government could provide an alternative for businesses and help them to remain open.
“I just think that the Government should be putting much more emphasis on ventilation instead of trying the idea of elderly people sitting outside in the middle of winter trying to have lunch- It’s just not practical.”
According to the World Health Organisation, ventilation is an important factor in preventing the virus that causes Covid-19 from spreading indoors.
The WHO recommend an increased ventilation rate through natural or mechanical means, preferably those that would avoid the recirculation of the air.
For Idaho Café, with current Level 4 or Level 3 restrictions, a limit to outside dining or takeaway is not a viable option.
“Effectively, we’ll be closed. With outdoor dining only in December, no one is going to sit down and have a nice lunch sitting outside on a windswept street in Cork city.
“It’s not going to happen, and the Government would be more honest if they just said the restaurants are closed,” he said.
With under three weeks until restrictions are expected to be lifted, Mr Jacob also said that at least ten days would be required to prepare his business to reopen.
“I think the Government need to have a plan. At this stage, they can see what way it’s going.
“I’m hoping that we get of clarity in the next few days,” he added.