PUBS will have to collect the contact details of at least one person from every group of customers when they reopen on June 29.
After a day of intense negotiations fresh guidelines are to be issued which will allow pubs which serve food operate with reduced social distancing guidelines.
The Irish Independent revealed today that plans were afoot to allow pubs reduce social distancing to just one metre if they limit patrons to just 90 minutes inside their premises.
The news was met with significant pushback from vintners who argued this was not enough time for people to enjoy a meal or watch a full soccer game.
Tonight it has been confirmed that the time limit is to be raised by 15 minutes to 105 minutes after the lobbying of health chiefs by Fáilte Ireland.
However, when patrons leave the pub or restaurant the area they occupied must be left vacant for at least 15 minutes.
This is to ensure that customers can leave and enter without mixing, and that staff have adequate time to give tables a thorough cleaning.
Health chiefs want pubs reopening on June 29 to operate like a restaurant, meaning everybody must be seated and offered table service. Meals would could reasonably cost €9 must be sold to each customer.
In a statement tonight Fáilte Ireland said it has spent the day engaged in “intensive discussions” with officials from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport following guidance from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) food service businesses “to ensure some of our concerns, and that of the industry, were addressed”.
The new extended time limit has now been agreed.
In order to operate under the reduced one metre rule, pubs and restaurants will also be required to collect the contact information of one person in every group who enters their business.
Previously, the original HPSC guidance stated that this should be collected for the full group.
Restaurants will also be told to reduce or stop the practice of allowing ‘walk-ins’. Instead they must rely on pre-booking.
This will have major implications for hotels as it may see guests having to be assigned a time slot for breakfast the night before.
Paul Kelly, CEO of Fáilte Ireland said: “These guidelines are intended to provide clarity to businesses so that they can reopen safely on June 29.
“I would like to thank my team and officials from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport who have been working tirelessly on ensuring these guidelines are practical while adhering to public health advice.”
Fáilte Ireland guidelines described the plan as a “living document” which means as Government restrictions and Public Health guidelines evolve, these documents will also evolve to reflect new Government advice and changes to protocols when they emerge.
The guidelines for pubs state:
- Disposable or laminated menus that can be easily cleaned should be used.
- Single use rather than shared condiments should be provided.
- Customers should be seated at a table except when using the toilet, paying and departing.
- Regular announcements will be made to remind customers to follow social distancing advice and clean their hands regularly.
- Smoking areas should have limited capacity.
- A strict queuing system should be in place for toilets to ensure physical distancing.
- Straws should be individually wrapped.
- Decoration of drink glasses (e.g. cocktail umbrellas) should be minimised.
- Details of one person from each group must be retained by the pub for one month.
- Carvery lunches are allowed but must operate a one-way system.