"It’s obvious these guidelines were issued by Government without any meaningful consultation with the hospitality sector."
VFI states: "We now have to work with members to implement changes that go live in less than 24 hours."
It was confirmed on Thursday evening (21 October) that there would be big changes in the hospitality sector around Ireland from Friday, 22 October.
According to the announcement, the three big changes were: nightclubs to open at 100% capacity, 11.30pm curfew has been removed, and customers could walk up to the bar and order their drinks without the necessity for table service.
In reaction to this announcement, the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) released a statement on Thursday evening.
Padraig Cribben, VFI Chief Executive, stated the following:
"The new guidelines allow customers order at the bar counter which will have a big impact for publicans struggling to find lounge staff. We also welcome the reopening of night clubs and note clubs must follow the same restrictions as pubs in relation to bar counters.
"While we welcome the reopening of night clubs we now have the anomaly where clubs can operate at 100% capacity but pubs must operate at reduced capacity because customers will not be allowed stand or congregate at the bar. This will lead to a farcical situation where 1,000 people can dance or stand around drinking in a nightclub but a small number of customers cannot sit at the bar of their local pub or, indeed, play darts or pool.
"It’s obvious these guidelines were issued by Government without any meaningful consultation with the hospitality sector. We now have to work with members to implement changes that go live in less than 24 hours."
The statement also referred to 'anomalies' such as the '100% capacity permitted in night clubs while social distancing in pubs will significantly reduce capacity in those venues'.