Restaurants & Cafés re-opening guide offers clues for bars

Fáilte Ireland, in collaboration with a number of industry groups, recently created a series of guidelines for re-opening businesses.


“There must be minimal handling of glassware when clearing glasses. Here, service trays must be used where appropriate.”

“There must be minimal handling of glassware when clearing glasses. Here, service trays must be used where appropriate.”

These guidelines have been tailored to the various sectors of the Irish tourism industry including one for restaurants and cafés.

The guidelines are designed to support business owners and management in every step as they tackle the challenges specific to their industry.

While the licensed trade awaits its own guidlelines, expected in the next few days, the tourism body’s Guidelines for re-opening Restaurants and Cafés might offer some indication as to what vintners can expect for bars and pubs.


Bar/waiting Area

For the bar area in restaurants and cafés the guidelines state, “Peak-period queuing procedures must be implemented if guests can’t be seated immediately. If queuing isn’t possible, a table reservation system must be considered. Consider an online reservation option for guests, as not only will this communicate new procedures and practices but will also limit the requirement for queuing.

“The amount of seating and stools must be reduced and guests must order from their seat wherever possible to reduce queues.

“Minimise the number of entrances guests can use to enter and leave the restaurant or waiting area. Managers, supervisors and security personnel must ensure physical distancing always takes place, while clear signage must also ask people to stay 2 metres apart.”

The guidelines go on to add, “Separate groups that are not members of the same household must remain 2 metres apart”.

Other suggestions in the guidelines include, “Divide the bar into areas/zones and allocate a zone to each employee. Minimise and control the movement between these areas.

“All employees must wash their hands frequently and as required. The following must also be cleaned and disinfected more frequently:

  • beer taps, handles and optics
  • drip trays and washable bar mats
  • glass mats
  • hand-held measures
  • cocktail equipment
  • ice-buckets, scoops and tongs
  • fruit preparation equipment
  • storage containers etc.”

Straws must be individually wrapped, states the guide while the embellishment or decoration of glasses (eg cocktail umbrellas)  should be minimised.

“Where fruit garnishes are required, good hand-hygiene practices must be in place while preparing the fruit. Keep garnishes refrigerated and in a covered container until required and
serve using tongs/scoop. Each scoop must have its own covered receptacle.

“In advance of re-opening the cleaning of beer lines must be arranged as a notice period may be required by breweries or suppliers,” it advises.



On glassware, it advises that , “to prevent cross-contamination, fresh glasses must be used for each new drink, particularly from optics and beer taps.

“When pouring drinks, employees must handle glasses by the stem or base and place on clean service trays or bar counter before serving. Avoid touching the nozzle, tap optic or bottle against the glass.

“Similarly, there must be minimal handling of glassware when clearing glasses. Here, service trays must be used where appropriate.”


Ice machines

The guidelines also offer advice on ice machines: “Before your restaurant re-opens, ice machines must be emptied, recalibrated and refreshed with new ice. The water lines to ice machines must be cleaned out prior to refreshing with new ice. To avoid cross-contamination, each ice scoop must be stored in a separate covered receptacle and washed and disinfected regularly”.


Cellars, Cold Rooms & Store Rooms

Cellars, cold rooms & store rooms are also covered in the booklet.

“Hand sanitiser (touchless where possible) should, where required, be placed at all entrances to cellars, cold rooms and storerooms with instructions that they be used on entering and leaving.

“Clear signage must tell employees to observe physical distancing. If the size of cellars, cold rooms and storerooms means a physical distance of 2 metres can’t be maintained, the number of employees allowed in one area at the same time must be limited.

“Access systems such as biometric touchpads, keypads or swipe cards must be cleaned and disinfected regularly.

“Beer lines will require cleaning before re-opening. Breweries recommend giving at least 3 weeks’ notice.

“Clean and disinfect the dispense head and keg neck at every keg change.”

The sector-specific guidelines offer detailed advice on the systems that should be implemented to help instil public confidence and re-boot business while adhering to public health advice and Government protocols.

These guidelines will be regularly updated in line with Government public health advice as and when this advice evolves. This includes any further guidance that is given following work by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre & National Public Health Emergency Team on the application of the existing Social Distancing requirements in specific, defined and controlled environments in the hospitality industry during periods of low incidence of the disease.



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