Restaurants say the focus on take-away pints this week is a distraction from the real issues involved with exiting Level Five restrictions.
Cabinet will today discuss plans to crack down on pubs offering take-away pints.
It comes after images of people drinking on the street in Dublin and Cork were shared on social media over the weekend.
The Taoiseach Micheál Martin has now asked the Health Minister to draw up new regulations banning people from drinking take-away pints outdoors.
The regulations are expected to prevent two or more people from gathering outdoors to drink.
Writing on Twitter last night, the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) CEO Adrian Cummins said the regulations are an unwelcome distraction.
🔴Ireland will spend the next fews days talking about takeaway pints, when we should be focused on engagement with Restaurant Owners about reopening for 1 December
🔴Soundings with regards to opening mid December makes no sense re PUP payments, logistics & viability
— Adrian Cummins 🇮🇪🇪🇺 (@adriancummins) November 16, 2020
“Ireland will spend the next few days talking about takeaway pints, when we should be focused on engagement with restaurant owners about reopening for December 1st,” he wrote.
He warned that suggestions pubs and restaurants could open halfway through December “make no sense in terms of “PUP payments, logistics and viability.”
On The Hard Shoulder yesterday meanwhile, Dublin publican David Chawke questioned whether the Government was now deciding policy based on social media posts.
“Surely Micheál Martin has discussions with guards, councils, mayors or whoever else is trying to run cities, and knows exactly what is going on?” he said.
“Does he have to go on his social media and watch it after a Saturday night to realise what's happening?
“I've been in town... I've spoken to guards over the last six weeks, seven weeks. They've said town is very quiet and there's not a lot going on.”
It comes after the National Public Health Emergency Team announced 456 new coronavirus cases and five further deaths.
The Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn said people should not get distracted by the video – and remember that “there is a very significant silent majority out there who are doing the right things.”
“[People] who are keeping themselves and their families safe and ultimately, keeping each and every one of us in our communities safe.”
Both the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) and the Licenced Vintners Association have warned that he best way to prevent house parties and outdoor drinking is to reopen pubs so people can socialise in controlled environments.
They have also noted that the hospitality industry needs the month of December to keep the lights on this Christmas – with most pubs having no interest in opening for just two weeks.
Dr Mullen said the answer to outdoor drinking is not to reopen pubs.
“The answer to that is to appeal to people to protect themselves and others,” he said.
“Not to go into crowded environments; to do what we have been asking for months and months which is to protect themselves.”
On Newstalk Breakfast yesterday, Dublin Councillor Mannix Flynn called for a ban on the sale of takeaway pints to “groovy hipsters.”