Publicans say it would be a "nightmare" if Government issues another lockdown 4 months ago

Publicans say it would be a "nightmare" if Government issues another lockdown

"It would be a nightmare. We've been closed 15 months at this stage so this has to be the last lockdown."

Communications and Public Affairs Manager of the Vinters Federation of Ireland (VFI) Brian Foley has said that it would be a "nightmare" for publicans if the Government issues another lockdown.

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The Government is set to meet tomorrow to discuss the further easing of restrictions throughout the summer, with a date set for the reopening of indoor dining likely to be on the agenda.

Foley told JOE that the group are worried about finding staff when pubs are allowed to reopen, adding that he would like to see the sector remain open "for good" after a date is announced on Friday.

"Opening and closing as far as the hospitality sector, it's just hugely costly, so that's why we need a proper reopening, we've had opening and closing three times already and it has had a huge negative impact on the trade," he said.

"People have left, staff have gone, they've retrained into other sectors. There is going to be a huge issue about getting staff back, so another lockdown just will impact the trade further, it will erode confidence and you will just see more people exiting the trade.

"It would be a nightmare. We've been closed for 15 months at this stage so this has to be the last lockdown."

Foley added that the publican group wants to see an indoor reopening "no later" than 1 July.

He said they would also like the government to look at the 105-minute rule and see if it can "be removed" before the reopening.

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"Our position is that when we do get to reopen it's for good, that there is no more lockdowns. We want to get this right," he continued.

"Out position is let's get it open on that date, and do it right, and no more lockdowns. If it's a matter of waiting a few weeks after the hotels then so be it."

Restaurants will need to stick to a maximum of six adults and nine children per table when they reopen, under new guidelines issued by Fáilte Ireland on Wednesday.

Pubs and restaurants will also need to close by 11.30 pm and no live music will be allowed under the new guidelines.

A time limit of 105 minutes will also apply to indoor dining in cases where a two-metre social distancing of tables cannot be maintained. There will be no time limit for outdoor tables.

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The document, which was initially due to be published on Tuesday evening, does not confirm how long the measures will remain in place.

Outdoor dining is set to return on 7 June with the Government set to meet on Friday to discuss the reopening of indoor dining and other sectors across the summer.

Under the guidelines, outdoor service will be allowed for a "maximum of six persons aged 13 or over per table" however, this will not apply to children under 13 as up to nine children aged 12 or below will also be allowed at a table.

The guidelines also say that physical distancing of two metres should be maintained between tables inside restaurants and pubs.

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The document adds that this distance may be reduced to one metre if plexiglass barriers and limits on crowds can be maintained - however, in these instances, a time limit of 105 minutes and pre-booking will need to be in place.

The €9 substantial meal rule will also be scrapped under the new measures.