From today customers in pubs will be allowed order at the bar counter but must return to their seats with their purchase.
This is a change to the ‘table service only’ guidelines and will reduce the number of lounge staff required in pubs. Nightclubs will also follow the same rules for the bar counter and will be prohibited from allowing customers sit or congregate at the counter.
Normal trading hours will also resume from today while the ongoing requirement to provide proof of immunity is likely to be retained for some time to come.
However anomalies remain in that 100% capacity has been permitted in nightclubs while Social Distancing is still a requirement in pubs which will significantly reduce capacity in those venues.
“The new guidelines allow customers order at the bar counter which will have a big impact for publicans struggling to find lounge staff,” said VFI Chief Executive Padraig Cribben, “We also welcome the reopening of nightclubs and note clubs must follow the same restrictions as pubs in relation to bar counters.
“While we welcome the reopening of nightclubs we now have the anomaly where clubs can operate at 100% capacity but pubs must operate at reduced capacity because customers will not be allowed stand or congregate at the bar. This will lead to a farcical situation where 1,000 people can dance or stand around drinking in a nightclub but a small number of customers cannot sit at the bar of their local pub or, indeed, play darts or pool.
“It’s obvious these guidelines were issued by Government without any meaningful consultation with the hospitality sector,” he concluded.