Socially distanced queuing at bars to be allowed under reopening guidelines

Socially distanced queuing at bars to be allowed under reopening guidelines

Thu, 21 Oct, 2021 – 18:19

Daniel McConnell and Elaine Loughlin

Socially distanced queues at bar counters are to be allowed in new guidelines to help bars deal with staffing issues.

Draft hospitality protocols are to be published on Thursday night with a meeting between Culture Minister Catherine Martin and industry figures ongoing on Thursday evening.

These protocols will allow the reopening of nightclubs and music venues from Friday as well as the holding of the Cork Jazz Festival this weekend.

Live music venues will be allowed to host standing events of up to 1,500 people, while nightclubs will reopen at full capacity under the new guidelines.

Ms Martin has announced that the 11.30pm closing time for bars will be scrapped and people can reserve multiple tables with a maximum of 10 people, or up to 15 people with children at each table.

“You can go up to the bar in a queued orderly fashion with social distance and order your drink but you must come back and then sit at your table,” Ms Martin said.

Ahead of the Cork Jazz Festival, there is fresh emphasis on the role of the Covid certs and there will be a need to enforce the use of the certs this weekend.

It had been initially indicated that standing events would not be permitted, however, this has been changed to allow standing gigs of up to 1,500 people. 

However, as well as a dedicated standing/dance area of up to 1,500 people, venues can also have seated areas. Live venues will be allowed to operate at full capacity for fully seated events.

The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) said that the partial reopening of bar counters is welcome but that anomalies remain.

“It’s obvious these guidelines were issued by Government without any meaningful consultation with the hospitality sector,” said VFI chief executive Padraig Cribben.

“We now have to work with members to implement changes that go live in less than 24 hours.”

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