Ireland: Irish pubs expected to reopen by the end of September

Establishments that do not serve food should be given the green light to reopen in the near future.
September 8, 2020
Temple Bar, Dublin - Claudia Schillinger - cc
Temple Bar, Dublin - Claudia Schillinger - cc

The Irish government has just announced that the Irish pubs, which have been closed since March, should all be able to reopen by the end of September. This is excellent news, designed to save the 1,000 or so pubs currently threatened with bankruptcy. A welcome easing of the anti-Covid-19 restrictions, but one that will pose new challenges as Ireland sees an increase in coronavirus cases on its territory.

Irish government eases restrictions

Widely criticized, the Prime Minister revises his copy

This is a thorny question: should the government keep up the pressure on the health situation by prolonging the closure of the most fragile irish pubs? Or should it make the rising curve of coronavirus cases to better boost the economy of the pubs?

Until today, the government had played for time, allowing only those irish pubs serving food to receive the public. However, the unequal treatment of Irish pubs offering only drinks had been strongly criticized by the Irish population.

This was compounded by the bankruptcy of some of the country’s historic Irish pubs (including Dalkey’s), a situation that was unacceptable to the Irish people, who blamed the government for providing ridiculous assistance to struggling pub owners.

Explain to me why an irish pub offering food and drink would have more right to open than a normal irish pub? said one irish pub owner. It’s nonsense. All establishments that meet public health guidelines should be allowed to operate.

Under pressure, it seems the government finally gave in. It is in a context of crisis (where cases of coronavirus are progressing alarmingly) that the government seems to be able to review its copy. Thus, the cabinet is expected to meet later today to set a date for a “formal” reopening.

Early indications are that the reopening is expected to take place by the end of September. But beware, there will probably be rules to follow. A draft of these rules was leaked last week. It would include the following:

  • to make table service mandatory (prohibition to order at the bar),
  • ask the public to remain seated (including in smoking areas),
  • to propose tables limited to a maximum of 6 people, from a maximum of 3 different homes,
  • to privilege the social distancing of 1 meter in each person,
  • to close the establishments at 11:30 pm imperatively.

The time spent in the pub will not be limited and the employees of each establishment will have to wear PPE (masks, visor…etc.), and wash their hands regularly with hydroalcoholic gel.

Controls will probably be carried out by the competent authorities to ensure that public health rules are respected.

All that remains to be done is to know the official date: this should allow the owners of irish pubs to be better prepared for their upcoming reopening. Keep your fingers crossed for them!


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