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Food & Drink

12th Mar 2020

‘Confusion amongst publicans across Dublin’ after Leo Varadkar’s announcement

Darragh Murphy

Dublin pubs coronavirus

Dublin publicans have requested clarity regarding how they should operate following Leo Varadkar’s announcement on Thursday morning.

Leo Varadkar spoke to members of the media in Washington and announced the closure of schools, colleges, cultural institutions and childcare centres in Ireland amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

The updated measures are part of Ireland’s move into the delay phase of coronavirus, which will see more social distancing restrictions put in place.

Reacting to the news, the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA), which is the representative body for Dublin publicans, has asked for more information on how pubs should address the ongoing situation.

The LVA wants to be made aware of the official guidance for pubs with a capacity in excess of 100 people and what the government recommends in terms of how social distancing can be implemented in pubs.

Publicans also went to know how the government plans to address the inevitable financial impact on the hospitality sector.

“Following on from the Taoiseach’s statement, there is a lot of confusion amongst publicans across Dublin as to what action they now need to take,” said LVA Chief Executive Donall O’Keeffe. “For that reason we are calling on the Government and the Expert Advisory Group to provide specific guidance for how pubs should respond to the coronavirus situation.

“By their very nature pubs are social hubs where people deliberately congregate close to one another. Implementing a one metre gap between tables for example might be one step that we could take, but that won’t stop people from grouping together or congregating in other parts of the pub, for example at the bar.

“Our members are committed to playing their part in acting in the best interests of our staff and customers. Public health is our sole and over-riding priority. But publicans are not experts in public health and there is a severe lack of clarity as to how we should now respond. This is a time for listening to the experts and to be guided by the experts. That is why we believe it is imperative that the Expert Advisory Group and the Government provide pub specific guidance on these issues as a matter of real urgency.”