Irish pubs and restaurants could see capacity reduced by 87% due to Covid-19
"It is vital that pub businesses fully grasp the commercial challenges they will face..."
Pubs and restaurants in Ireland could see a reduced capacity of 87% upon reopening, according to a new report.
All bars and restaurants across the country closed in March in a bid to stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
A new roadmap to reopening Ireland's economy has provided guidance on when pubs and restaurants can start to reopen over the summer, but a new report has shown that the vast majority of businesses will need to operate on a considerably reduced capacity due to social distancing measures.
Published by the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) and Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) and compiled by Knapton Consulting Engineers, the report showed that capacities in pubs and bars/restaurants will drop to as little as one eighth of pre-Covid levels.
The report states that when HSE social distancing guidelines are applied in any 100m squared area, standing capacity will be reduced to 12.5%, while seating capacity will be reduced to 34%.
The report also said that “87% reduction in capacity figure is a much more representative figure for a typical bar and restaurant layout when the 2m physical distancing restrictions are applied".
“Up to now, there has been a lot of speculation about what a social distancing environment actually looks like in a pub or bar/restaurant,” said Donall O’Keeffe, Chief Executive of the LVA.
“Various figures have been bandied about, which did not provide clarity to the sector. We are now only a matter of weeks away from pubs with restaurant certificates and other hospitality venues reopening.
"That is due to be followed six weeks later by the reopening of other pubs across the country. It is vital that pub businesses fully grasp the commercial challenges they will face and thoroughly examine the prospects for whether they can afford to reopen."
“Since the beginning of this crisis, pubs have put the public health first,” added Padraig Cribben, Chief Executive of the VFI.
"From the perspective of commercial viability, the WHO guidelines obviously make much more sense for hospitality venues such as pubs.
"While we have been calling for equality of opportunity to reopen for some time, the question still remains as to how many pubs will actually be able to operate once the opportunity arises."
The World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines on Covid-19 include a social distance requirement of one metre.
This means that standing capacity would drop, for example, from 200 people to 100 (50%), while seated capacity in pubs, bars, and restaurants would decrease from 100 to 65 (65%).
Restaurants in Ireland are due to reopen during Phase Three of the government roadmap on 29 June. Pubs and bars are due to reopen during Phase Five on 10 August, where social distancing can be maintained.