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Restrictions 'unfair' on pubs which don't serve food

Publicans had ordered stock for reopening

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Taoiseach Micheál Martin has deferred the reopening of pubs

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has deferred the reopening of pubs

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has deferred the reopening of pubs

The reopening of all pubs and bars not serving food has been deferred until August 10, despite most publicans putting measures in place so they could reopen on July 20.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said it was decided not to move to Phase 4 of re-opening society and business planned on Monday last as had been planned. The rate of transmission of the disease in the country is now estimated to be between 1.2 and 1.8, and the Government says a priority is to get it back below 1.

Pubs were among the first sectors to close, on March 15, at the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis.

Larry Dunne of Tà Sè's in Wicklow town doesn't see why pubs that serve food should be allowed open, while those that don't have to remain closed.

He said: 'I don't see why pubs who serve food can open up but pubs that don't can't. Are you going to tell me that if you pay €9 or more for a meal then you won't catch virus. I think that's unfair.

'We were planning to reopen on July 20 and placed our orders in with suppliers. Heineken actually asked if we could take it in a little earlier because they didn't want to be flat out making all deliveries on the Monday of the initial planned reopening.

'We ordered new glasses and cleaning products. We turned the coolers back on to keep them going. We were all ready to reopen. Our kegs were all ordered. If we still aren't able to open in a months time then we will have to send all those kegs back.'

Part-time staff were also looking forward to working again, prior to the Government's U-turn, though Larry wasn't exactly shocked by the decision announced on Wednesday.

'It wasn't that much of a surprise. There has been a recent increase in the number of coronavirus cases and when pubs serving food reopened in Dublin, we all saw the huge crowds that caused, with no social distancing.

'We were half expecting the deferment but we were still hoping to be able to open.

'Our off-license has been open so it hasn't been so bad for us. The staff have been manning the off-licence during lockdown. The change in opening dates was unfortunate for our part-time staff because they were all ready to start again,' said Larry.

Wicklow People