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Pub capacity may drop to one eighth of previous levels

By Brian Dillon

May 26, 2020 at 2:06pm

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The Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) and Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) have published a report detailing what pub capacity might look like once they reopen.

According to the report, capacities in pubs and bar/restaurants "will drop to as little as one-eighth of pre-Covid-19 crisis levels under the HSE social distancing guidelines."

The report also states, "more complex geometries will result in lower occupancies when physical distancing is applied, i.e. physical distancing will result in a greater reduction in occupancy for narrow, small pubs than on those with larger circulation spaces with higher footfalls."

Chief Executive of the LVA said, "Up to now, there has been a lot of speculation about what a social distancing environment actually looks like in a pub or bar/restaurant.

"While every pub and bar/restaurant will have different layouts and configurations, the findings will broadly apply across the sector and they are stark. Seated capacity will drop to approximately one-third of previous levels while standing capacity can be divided by a factor of eight. Those are dramatic decreases and they will have an extreme impact on turnover potential."

Meanwhile, VFI Chief Executive, Padraig Cribben said, "While we have been calling for equality of opportunity to reopen for some time, the question still remains as how many pubs will actually be able to operate once the opportunity arises. That is a question that is still being asked by publicans across the country and we will certainly need further guidance on the reopening protocols in the near future to allow fully formed business decisions to be made in advance of any reopening."

According to the report, HSE social distancing guidelines will see the pub capacity of a bar per 100 square metres drops from 200 people to 25 people (standing), and the seated capacity in a bar or restaurant drop from 100 people to 34.

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