Pub opens for bank holiday weekend despite Covid-19 restrictions

A pub without a restaurant licence is opening in Co Meath this bank holiday weekend for the first time since March.

Covid-19 regulations currently allow pubs to only reopen if operating as a restaurant, serving food along with alcohol while maintaining social distancing.

Pauline Fay, who is opening her pub Fay's in Drumconrath today, says the pub can offer substantial meals but they would come from a takeaway across the road.

I need to be working... I’m not going to go out looking for a job now, as I said, I’ll open my own pub.

She says she has contacted the gardaí who told her they had no issues with her opening: “I did call into Navan garda station to tell them that I was open and invited them in to see would they be happy enough with the space that... the tables were apart.

“The guard just told me, he says, just work away... they’ll be visiting us anyway if they get any complaints.”

Ms Fay says she has spent thousands of euro on renovations to make her pub safe, and believes she has been closed for too long: “I have done up the bar to a wonderful standard. I’ve nothing else to do, and I just can’t sit inside and do nothing.

“I need to be working... I’m not going to go out looking for a job now, as I said, I’ll open my own pub.”

The Vintners' Federation of Ireland says there is still “every chance” all pubs can reopen in ten days' time.

This is despite 85 new cases of Covid-19 being confirmed in the State yesterday - the country's highest in two months.

The cabinet will meet next Tuesday to decide if Phase Four of the roadmap for reopening the State can go ahead on August 10th.

Paul Moynihan, the incoming president of the VFI, says he is confident all pubs will get the green light to open that day: “I’ve seen the numbers yesterday but... I don’t think we should panic. I said the rolling 14 day figure is positive, and that’s the figure that most agencies look at to reopen.

“If that can stay low, I think we’ve every chance, but the other side of it is that the pubs and restaurants are open and there’s been no clusters associated with the pubs that have opened so far.”