Ireland's Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan has said the prospect of pubs re-opening in June instead of the end of July is not realistic.
Speaking to Sean O'Rourke on RTE Radio One on Friday morning, Dr Holohan said: "The pubs came to us in March and said we understand your public health advice but we don't think we can implement it in pubs and that was the reason they were asked to close on that occasion.
"I know there are many parts of society and the economy making a case that they should be in earlier phases. What we think now needs to happen is the economy and society, in general, get on with the job of preparing to implement our advice in the settings that they operate. So if I take restaurants or the hospitality sector as an example, how are they going to put in place the arrangement to protect their staff, their clients and customers when the time is right for them to begin to resume those activities."
Pushed on whether June might be a possibility for pubs, Dr Holohan said: "I don't see any realistic prospect of pubs in June, no - a straight answer to your question."
The Licensed Vintners’ Association (LVA) and the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) have written to the Government accepting their invitation to discuss the Government Roadmap and its implications for pubs as a matter of urgency.
Measures the Vintner's said could be implemented to facilitate an earlier opening of premises include:
• Bars will become dispense bars only with no sitting, standing, ordering, payment or drinking at the bar allowed.
• Table service will be a requirement with pubs only serving customers seated at tables.
• The numbers on the premises would be confined to no more than 4 per every 10 square metres.
• A maximum of 6 people would be permitted at any one table.
• Customers will be required to use hand sanitiser upon entry.
• All customers must remain seated.
• Staff will be fully trained in the new procedures. They will also be asked to maintain a safe distance from customers when taking orders and to wash their hands thoroughly every 30 minutes.
• The utilisation of outdoor spaces to enhance social distancing.
• Procedures implemented to ensure safe use of toilet facilities, which may include limits on the numbers using toilets at any one time.
• No live music or DJs.
• Gardaí / HSE will have the power to close any business who is flouting the public health guidelines.
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