Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

18.02 29 Jul 2020


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Publicans are urging authorities to allow customers drink at the bar when pubs reopen, saying many businesses will not be viable if the use of the counter is ruled out.

Pub owners are currently hoping they'll get the green light to reopen on August 10th, after their previous reopening date was delayed due to an increase in coronavirus cases earlier this month.

Fáilte Ireland is expected to publish their reopening guidelines for pubs in the coming days.

Paul Moynihan - incoming president of the Vintners Federation of Ireland and owner of Moynihan’s Bar in Donard, Co Wicklow - said the guidelines are expected to be very similar to those for pubs which have already reopened as restaurants.

However, he told The Hard Shoulder that the main concern now is whether the use of the counter will be allowed.

He explained: "In a lot of rural pubs... the counter is very important.

"The counter in a lot of pubs takes up a lot of room, so if you take out the counter use in any form you leave it unviable for many pubs.

"You could probably get 20 people around the counter in my pub... with seating elsewhere for around 40-45. It's a fair chunk of the seating.

"It's inherent to the atmosphere of a pub."

He stressed that they're not asking for the counter to be used in the way it always has been, and that publicans would be willing to put a screen up between the customers and bar staff.

Mr Moynihan said separating out the counter with screens between customers wouldn't be ideal, but there's an "awful lot of pubs" out there with no other area available.

He explained: "It's just a matter of trying to get open - that's all we're trying to do.

"What we're trying to say to the powers to be here is that we can do a good job here.

"If you give us guidelines that are fair and give us a chance to reopen, we'll do a good job with it.

"If there are problems, deal with the problems: if there are individual publicans not adhering to the guidelines, deal with that on an individual basis. But don't tar us all with the same brush, and try to give us all a chance to get going away as an industry."

Main image: File photo. Picture by: Adam Davy/EMPICS Sport

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