21 May 2022

Why can't Leitrim pubs and restaurants reopen for indoor service?

Donegal pubs set to reopen on Monday week

There is growing frustration for publicans and restaurant owners as yet another delay hits indoor service

Manorhamilton publican and local county councillor, Felim Gurn, said he believes the biggest frustration for restaurants and pubs is “when we see indoor dining going ahead in hotels.
“What is the difference in dining indoors in a hotel and indoor dining in a pub or restaurant on a main street?” he asked.
Although he acknowledges that the country was warned that this “would be an outdoor summer” he points out that the unpredictability of the Irish weather means that there are going to be problems for those premises that cannot offer covered outdoor spaces.

He pointed out that pubs, restaurants and cafes are still following the same safety protocols as hotels but there appears to be one rule applied to one sector and yet another being put in place for pubs and restaurants.
Cllr Gurn said that “whoever is coming up with this is not making any sense. It doesn't make any sense to open a hotel for dining but not a pub or restaurant.”
The publican also questioned the suggestion that public houses check that a person is vaccinated before entry.
“How will a public house be able to check this?” he said. “It will be impossible to keep checks on who is vaccinated.”
However Cllr Gurn also stated it is important to recognise that the Delta variant is a worrying development.
He noted that England “is moving to remove all restrictions but this is in the face of nearly 50,000 new cases of Covid a day. That is crazy.

“What's happening here (in Ireland) is that we are looking at the rollout and availability of vaccines and also monitoring the number of new cases.”
He said “it has been very challenging for businesses like mine” and points to the fact that he has decided not to provide food service during the current restrictions.
“We've had to change the way we approach things,” he said. But he also warned that any plans to restart indoor service will require two or three weeks of advance notice.
“Whatever they decide they have to give people proper notice. This isn't something that businesses can just sort overnight. We have to get a firm date and it has to be adhered to. Too many deadlines have been given, then passed without anything reopening. This cannot continue,” he said.

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