Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

19.52 16 Dec 2020


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Restaurant owners say they want customers to be allowed stay for an extra hour on New Year's Eve.

Under current guidelines, restaurants and pubs which serve food must have customers off the premises by 11.30pm.

However, the Restaurants Association of Ireland is now advocating for a 'one night only' extension so customers don't have to be ushered out before midnight on New Year's Eve.

The association's CEO Adrian Cummins told The Hard Shoulder that December 31st is a big night for the entire hospitality sector.

He said: "What we're saying to the Government is to allow us trade until 12.30am... people off the premises at 12:30am.

"It's an extra hour with regard to the restrictions for just one night, and we believe this is the right thing to do - in the best interest of public health, and trying to make sure we manage New Year's Eve in a regulated environment.

"If the Government don't allow us to do this, we feel you'll have street parties, house parties... it's better to have consumers and diners in a restaurant."

Mr Cummins said restaurants want to "help the Government", but that customers also need to know what the rules will be so they can plan their night out.

He stressed that restaurateurs are not looking for one-off changes to other regulations, such as a limit of six people at a table - the extra opening hour is all they want.

He explained: "I think this is the best approach that the Government should do, and we're advocating for it.

"It's up to our industry to make sure we do everything by the book - but we're asking for that extra time."

Main image: File photo. Picture by: Jae C. Hong/AP/Press Association Images

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