Publicans have said any decision to keep wet pubs closed while allowing gastropubs and restaurants to reopen next month will be “political” and “based on zero evidence”.
The Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) was reacting to news that the Government is set to reject advice from the State’s public health experts and allow restaurants and gastropubs to reopen in December when the State exits Level 5. The Cabinet is set to approve the plan later today.
Senior sources said there would be tighter rules including cutting the time allowed at a table and cutting the number of people allowed to sit together in restaurants.
The LVA said “any ‘risk’ is the same for all venues where alcohol is served, with zero distinction being made between these different types of outlets.
“There is no evidence which exists that ‘wet’ pubs pose a greater risk than restaurants or gastropubs. The same regulations and enforcements are in place for all these types of venue – the same social distancing and the same time limits,” said Donall O’Keeffe, chief executive of the LVA, which represents Dublin publicans.
“We welcome restaurants and gastropubs being allowed to trade, but if the Government allows them to open while keeping the wet pubs closed, it will be exposed as simply their political choice,” he said.
The owners of a number of a number of well known restaurants in Dublin are calling for clear and concise guidelines as soon as possible from the Government so they can open safely.
Sally Ann Clarke of L’Ecrivain told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that they have full bookings from December 1st, the date on which Level 5 restrictions were due to be lifted. “We need to know as soon as possible so we can let suppliers know and reschedule bookings if we can’t open on the first.”