Proposals for reopening indoor hospitality ‘not ideal’, publicans say

ireland
Proposals For Reopening Indoor Hospitality ‘Not Ideal’, Publicans Say
A mobile app could be used to allow people to eat and drink indoors in pubs and restaurants. Photo: Tom Little/AFP via Getty
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Vivienne Clarke

Proposals for the return of indoor hospitality are “not ideal” but the hospitality sector would have to live with it “to get some sort of summer”, an industry representative has said.

Cabinet Ministers will sign off on new plans later on Monday to reopen indoor dining for restaurants and pubs.

New legislation will allow fully vaccinated people or those who have recovered from Covid to eat and drink indoors.

The reopening is expected between July 19th and 26th.

The chief executive of the Vintners' Federation, Padraig Cribben, told RTÉ’s Today with Claire Byrne that he hoped the legal and operational concerns within the sector would be addressed.

“It’s still not an ideal situation or solution,” he said.

There was a possibility that a mobile app could be available, he said, but in the meantime publicans would have to take details from people arriving to business, a box would be ticked once they showed their QR code.

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However, he pointed out that there could be difficulties as not everyone had a smartphone, so it remained to be seen how robust the proposals would be.

At the end of the day the proposals were not what the sector wanted, they were “cumbersome”, but the alternative was to stay closed until September or October. “To lose the summer would be unacceptable,” he added.

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Mr Cribben said there were concerns about the issue of unvaccinated under-18s, but that publicans were used to implementing regulations with underage people on premises. The proposals, as he understood them, were not ideal and there would be operational difficulties, but they were what the sector would have to live with “to get some sort of summer.”

There was also the issue of unvaccinated staff, he said, and he cautioned that there would be anti-vax and anti-mask supporters who were “quite vociferous”. “No doubt there will be some people who will take a case to test the waters,” he added.

The sector had engaged “significantly” with the Government over the past few weeks, pointing out the difficulties which will arise when it comes to implementing the protocols, he said. “There will be teething problems. We will have to find ways to sort them out so we can trade in a safe manner.”

Liam Herrick from the Irish Council for Civil Liberties warned there would be problems with fraud and that the proposed system was “wide open to abuse.”

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