Covid-19: Irish pubs should reopen on September 21

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It is understood that the Irish government has agreed that pubs that do not serve food will be able to reopen from September 21.

The reopening will be subject to possible local restrictions if the number of cases increases, RTÉ News reported.

The move will put pressure on the Stormont executive to reopen non-food bars in Northern Ireland.

Draft guidelines, developed in collaboration with tourism organization Fáilte Ireland, were released last weekend.

They are basically the same that were brought in for the pubs where the food is served.

These include the retention of customer records for contact tracing purposes and time slots limited to one hour and 45 minutes where a physical distance of one meter can be maintained.

However, slots would not be a requirement when the physical distance of two meters can be “strictly maintained”.

Last week it was announced that pubs in the Republic of Ireland must keep records of the meals each customer orders for 28 days so that they can be inspected by the Gardaí (police) or health officials.

This decision has been called “madness” by the Federation of Irish Winegrowers.

Representatives of the Northern Ireland pub industry yesterday met with Stormont ministers to seek “urgent” action to help reopen non-food bars.

Drink-only bars that cannot be redeemed due to Covid-19 restrictions “lose thousands of pounds” every week, according to Hospitality Ulster.

Its chief executive, Colin Neill, said many traditional pubs may never reopen unless the executive acts quickly.

When Stormont ministers presented their plan to facilitate the coronavirus lockdown over the summer, the drink bars were given an indicative August 10 reopening date.

But on August 26, the executive announced it had to be postponed due to “increased transmission” of the virus in Northern Ireland.

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