- 08 Sep 20
"Wet" pubs have been closed since March.
It is expected that Irish pubs that do not serve food will be able to reopen on September 21st. After discussions with the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), the Cabinet will likely agree to the reopening date at a meeting on Tuesday.
Irish pubs have experienced the longest lockdown in Europe, and pub owners have been advocating for reopening over the last several weeks. The news will come as a relief to these owners and operators of the 60 per cent of pubs in Ireland which do not serve food.
The reopening of “wet” pubs, which have been closed since March, will be subject to strict regulations on social distancing and hygiene. A political source familiar with the plan told The Irish Times: “It’s not business as usual.”
New draft guidelines for the re-opening of pubs would mean patrons would no longer need to adhere to the 105 minute time-limit, in premises where a distance of two metres between customers from different households can be strictly maintained.
Guidelines drawn up by Fáilte Ireland include many of the same systems in place for pubs that are open as restaurants currently. These include a requirement for table service only, having customers off the premises by 11.30pm and the application of the 105 minute time-limit where the physical distancing is one metre.
That said, the news comes with concern for the rising number of COVID cases, especially in the Dublin area.
Rising case numbers in Dublin and Limerick are being discussed among public health officials, who have asked residents of both counties to limit their social interactions as much as they can.
“The next seven days, in terms of people’s behaviour, are really important,” said acting Chief Medical Officer Ronan Glynn. “If things stay stable, we’ll see.” Public health officials suggested that there is a possibility counties with a high incidence of COVID-19 might be excluded from the re-openings later this month.