Tony Holohan says he doesn’t see “any realistic prospect” of Irish pubs opening in June
Holohan’s comments follow proposals for radical changes for the operating of pubs in Ireland this week.
Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan says he doesn’t see “any realistic prospect” of pubs in Ireland being able to open next month.
Holohan’s comments come after proposals for radical changes to how pubs operate in Ireland were published by the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) and the Licensed Vintners’ Association (LVA) on Monday.
The proposals were designed so that pubs that were in a position to implement the suggested measures would be able to open at the same time and on the same basis as cafes and restaurants, which, according to the government roadmap published last Friday, are due to reopen as part of Phase 3 from 29 June.
As part of the roadmap, pubs, nightclubs and casinos – where social distancing and strict cleaning can be complied with – are due to reopen as part of Phase 5 from 10 August.
The VFI and LVA have written to the Government accepting an invitation to discuss the government roadmap and its implications for pubs, but in the meantime, Tony Holohan has cast doubt on the feasibility of any pubs reopening next month.
Speaking to Sean O’Rourke on RTÉ Radio One on Friday, Holohan said: “So the pubs came to us in March and said ‘we understand your public health advice and we don’t think we can implement it in pubs'. And that was the reason they were asked to close on that occasion.
“I know there are many parts of society and the economy making a case that they should be in earlier phases, but what we think now needs to happen is the economy and society in general get on with the job of preparing to, as it were, implement our advice in the settings that they operate it.
"So if I can choose say, restaurants or the hospitality sector as an example, how are they going to put in place the arrangements to protect their staff, to protect their clients and their customers when the time is right for them to begin to resume those activities?"
Asked by O’Rourke if there was a possibility of pubs reopening in June, Holohan replied: “I don’t see any realistic prospect of pubs in June, no. Straight answer to your question.”