Following the statement made by An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar that restaurants and cafes can remain open the LVA believes it would be beneficial for the public health if pub-specific advice was provided.
Specifically, the LVA is calling on the Government to consult with the Expert Advisory Group to ascertain best practice in addressing the following matters:
- what’s the official guidance for pubs who’ve a capacity exceeding 100 people?
- given the social dimension of pubs what’s the official guidance for how social distancing should be implemented in a pub context?
- How does the Government plan to address the financial impact on the hospitality sector?
“Following on from the Taoiseach’s statement, there is a lot of confusion amongst publicans across Dublin as to what action they now need to take,” explained LVA Chief Executive Donall O’Keeffe, “For that reason we’re calling on the Government and the Expert Advisory Group to provide specific guidance for how pubs should respond to the coronavirus situation.
“By their very nature pubs are social hubs where people deliberately congregate close to one another. Implementing a one metre gap between tables, for example, might be one step that we could take, but that won’t stop people from grouping together or congregating in other parts of the pub, for example at the bar.
“Our members are committed to playing their part in acting in the best interests of our staff and customers. Public health is our sole and overriding priority,” he continued, “But publicans are not experts in public health and there’s a severe lack of clarity as to how we should now respond. This is a time for listening to the experts and to be guided by the experts. That is why we believe it is imperative that the Expert Advisory Group and the Government provide pub-specific guidance on these issues as a matter of real urgency.”
The Vintners Federation of Ireland agreed, also calling urgently for clarity about how pubs should implement the Government’s advice about mass gatherings.
A number questions arise following this morning’s announcement that although schools and crèches are closing, pubs remain open, it stated this afternoon.
– are smaller-sized pubs to be treated differently to larger venues given social distancing is easier in bigger premises?
– what social distancing advice should publicans implement?
– should pubs cancel events over 100 people or reduce the event size?
– pubs are at the sharp end of this crisis and will need urgent assistance and forbearance – what is the government plan?
“This is a national emergency which requires all of us to do our part,” stated VFI Chief Executive Padraig Cribben, “Having said that we require clarity about how pubs should implement social distancing and restricting their premises to 100 customers.
“Right now, there is little information about how to manage the unfolding situation.”