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Publicans blast 'crazy' new rule requiring details of food orders to be kept for 28 days

One Fianna Fáil TD condemned the new rules as ‘authoritarian’.

Updated Sep 3rd 2020, 7:55 PM

THE VINTNERS FEDERATION of Ireland has labelled as “crazy” new Covid-19 regulations that would see restaurants and pubs required to record all customer information – including food orders – for 28 days.

The statutory instrument, signed into law by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, took effect today and requires pubs and restaurants to “retain and make available” a record of the meals ordered by customers and to store that information for 28 days. 

The regulations state that business owners must be prepared to share this information with both gardaí and, if necessary, with a Covid-19 contact tracing team. 

In a statement, Padraig Cribben, the Chief Executive of the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland, said: “The idea that a pub must record all food ordered by each customer and then store it for 28 days is bureaucracy gone mad.”

“Not only is it too impractical for our members to implement but why does the Government think this law will help in the fight against Covid? It’s madness,” Cribben said. 

He said that the new regulation was introduced without any consultation by the health minister. 

The statutory instrument also includes the extension of the closing time for pubs to 11.30pm. 

Fianna Fáil TD Marc MacSharry, in a message to his party colleagues, labelled the regulations “Stasi guidelines”. 

He called on Taoiseach Micheál Martin to step in and to “urgently reverse this authoritarian and unnecessary nonsense”.

“Today’s guidelines as published are ridiculous,” he said. 

This evening, the CEO of the Restaurants Association of Ireland Adrian Cummins said that he has written to the Data Protection Commission to raise the issue. 

The regulations come amid growing pressure on the government to provide guidance and support for the ‘wet pubs’ that are yet to re-open. 

The government this evening promised that such pubs, closed for months, will receive guidelines on re-opening “shortly”. 

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Since 29 June, pubs that serve food have been permitted to re-open under strict guidelines, but other pubs have had to remain shut.

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