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105-minute time limit in pubs will be in place for just three weeks, says Fáilte Ireland

Pubs can serve alcohol along with a ‘substantial meal’ from 29 June.

Pubs can serve alcohol without food from 20 July.
Pubs can serve alcohol without food from 20 July.
Image: PA Images

THE SEATING TIME allowed in pubs when they reopen on 29 June will only be in place for three weeks, Fáilte Ireland has said.

Last night the agency published its finalised set of guidelines for the reopening of pubs and restaurants as part of Phase 3 of the government’s roadmap.

Pubs serving “substantial meals” to patrons will be allowed to reopen on 29 June subject to a range of risk mitigation requirements. 

One such requirement is that the seating time for a group will be for a maximum of 105 minutes. Fifteen minutes will then be allowed after this period to allow for the area to be cleaned and a new group seated.

There had been confusion however over whether this time limit would continue into Phase 4 on 20 July, when other pubs can reopen without selling food.

Speaking this morning on RTÉ’s Today with Sarah McInerney, Failte Ireland’s Tara Kerry said this is not currently what is expected.

“Once July comes and we’re into Phase Four of the reopening, bars will be allowed unless something changes in the government roadmap between now and then, bars will be allowed to reopen then and they won’t have to serve food. So people will be able to spend a longer period in the bars,” she said.

Our understanding is that there won’t be any limit on it. The reason there’s a limit on it at the moment is because of the food element. Bars would not be able to open as bars just serving alcohol because the government roadmap reopening is only allowing bars to reopen as actual physical bars on the 20 July.

Speaking this evening however, chief medical officer Dr. Tony Holohan said the guidance for the opening of pubs in Phase 4 including any times limits has not yet been fixed.

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“We don’t see pubs being in the same phase as restaurants. I’ve said it here before and I’ll say it again, we know the difference between a pub and restaurant. I think everybody in this country knows the difference in the pub and restaurant,” Holohan said. 

“We haven’t said any guidance at the moment in relation to what will apply in relation to pubs at some future point.

The kind of activity that would ordinarily happen in a pub environment is among unfortunately the most risky in terms of transmission of virus. We’ve been clear about that, and that’s the reason why we would have always held pubs operating in the way pubs would operate for the very final phases of our guidance, but what advice and guidance we have in place then in support of the operation of those pubs is still work we have to do and set out to government. So I wouldn’t be pre-empting that at this point.

 

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Rónán Duffy

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