Publican labels proposals to reopen indoor dining for vaccinated ‘highly problematic and probably unworkable’

Publican labels proposals to reopen indoor dining for vaccinated ‘highly problematic and probably unworkable’

Owner Sean McCarthy in the open air dining area of Soho in Cork before their planned reopening. Picture: David Keane.

QUESTIONS have been raised about the possibility of implementing indoor dining for those who are fully vaccinated, with some describing the plans as “unpoliceable” and “highly problematic”.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has confirmed that indoor activities will not yet proceed as planned on July 5, pending the implementation of a system to verify vaccination or immunity.

The Government is due to devise an implementation plan by July 19 following further consideration and consultation with relevant sectors.

The Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) described the plan as unworkable and said that it will only increase pressure on publicans and their staff.

Padraig Cribben, VFI chief executive, said the idea of only allowing the fully vaccinated into hospitality venues is “highly problematic and probably unworkable for a number of reasons”.

“Not least how do publicans and their staff police such a policy? Government has consistently stated it would not introduce this type of measure so for it now to change course has left the pub trade reeling.”

Sean McCarthy, one of the owners of Soho Bar, Paddy the Farmer’s Bar, Tequila Jacks and East Village Bar said he was “very, very disappointed” by the announcement.

He said that once again, they have “no clarity”.

“We’ve been told [this week] we might be getting some indication on how they’re going to handle it but they’re talking about allowing people in and trying to police people who are fully vaccinated or who had Covid previously and issuing certs.

“It’s just adding more problems for our industry,” added Mr McCarthy.

He said if it was to be implemented, the onus is on businesses to police it.

“And you’re asking families to come out, where the parents could be vaccinated and children or teenagers or early 20s mightn’t be vaccinated yet because they haven’t been called so you’re now telling those people who come to the door with the booking that yeah, you can come in, sorry your kids can’t.

“How do you police that?”

He said if it is up to the business to police it, it is putting them, management and staff “in a desperate position”.

“It’s unpoliceable, it’s more headache for our industry.”

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