Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said the Government will force local authorities to allow pubs with no indoor space to expand onto pavements.
Mr Varadkar said he was “very much” encouraging city councils and county councils to use the outdoor space.
He said it is a good opportunity to reimagine our streets and allow them to be used for the public to enjoy outdoor dining and drinking, and not so much for cars, according to the Irish Examiner.
Indoor drinking and dining
Mr Varadkar confirmed that outdoor drinking will return on June 7th, adding that indoor drinking and dining will return in July.
“On June 7th, we'll see outdoor dining and outdoor drinking resumed, and all things going to plan, indoor in July,” he said.
“What we've done in the revised plan is, we've ended the distinction between wet pubs and gastropubs, let's never hear the term wet pub again, that's gone and outdoor drinking and dining won't be limited to 15, there'll be no requirement of a substantial meal either.”
Speaking at a virtual conference for publicans, Mr Varadkar said pubs will be limited to table service with no drinking at the bar. While pubs will not be limited to 15 people, he said operating at full capacity is unlikely.
“I imagine it will be something in the space of table service only – a lead person whose name will have to be taken for contact tracing and a gap of maybe a metre, metre and a half between tables but I know my local pub has a beer garden that can take 140 in normal times so perhaps they'll operate at a reduced capacity to that,” he told host Ivan Yates.
He said customers should be allowed to use toilets indoors even if they are seated outdoors.
“My expectation is that you'll be able to use the toilet. It'd be a good idea for lots of reasons that people should be able to use the lavatory rather than availing of potential alternatives. But that would need to be organised so you'd have to go in and wear a mask while you're indoors,” he said.
Given the huge challenges publicans have faced, he said they can expect some “special help” from Government.