PUBLICANS are desperately seeking clarity from the Government around what they describe as “ambiguous” guidelines for pubs reopening on Monday.
Ireland is shifting from a short-term emergency response approach to a medium-term approach to managing risk and minimising damage inflicted by Covid-19.
The Framework for Restrictive Measures has been put in place to help protect society from Covid-19 while still enabling people to go about their daily lives.
It comprises five levels, with Ireland currently at level two of the Plan for Living with Covid-19.
Under the guidelines, pubs are being advised to open with protective measures in place, including cleaning regimes, noise control, table service, and social distancing.
Maximum numbers in restaurants and cafés are linked with the capacity of each establishment, with groups limited to six people from up to three households.
The Cork City chairman of the Vintners Federation of Ireland, Michael O’Donovan, criticised what he said is a lack of clarity from the Government. “There is no detail provided in relation to the reduced noise levels and this is something we need to get clarity on,” he said.
“Is this for the gardaí or are we supposed to self-regulate? It seems the measures have left us with more questions than answers. The feedback we are getting is that publicans are feeling a lot of nervousness. There is also an awful lot of confusion.”
Mr O’Donovan expressed disappointment in the Government. “We have not been able to provide any clarity to our members. After hearing that the Minister for Health has fallen ill it’s really important that we are given the chance to speak to somebody in the next 24 hours and before the pubs reopen.
“Like with everything the Government has done over the last 12 weeks, there have been more questions than answers. We need clarification from the Department of Health. This is going to be a learning curve for us as well as the public and we need everyone to work with us to be able to make this work.”
Mr O’Donovan said restrictions around noise levels will affect live music bars, in particular. “It will be very prohibitive on these types of bars,” he said.