Next steps for Irish pub rules as bosses pinpoint restriction changes for pints indoors

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The CEO of the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) has said that live music and a return to normal trading hours will be the main areas that the Government should be looking at improving within the hospitality sector.

Further changes are expected to be introduced later this month and in a post online, Adrian Cummins, CEO of the RAI, said that the nighttime element of the hospitality sector urgently needs a plan of recovery, as does the “normalisation of trading hours.”

Cummins said: “Government will publish a roadmap for reopening hospitality fully at end of August/ early September. Nighttime – live music economy really need a plan to return to normality. Normalisation of trading hours will have to be part of the plan.”

At present, live music and performances are permitted in outdoor hospitality settings only, as long as the set-up adheres to all relevant COVID-19 guidance.

As part of that, the performance area must be a minimum of 2 metres from all customers.

The guidelines also specified that “no live/loud music or performances are permitted indoors”, and dancing is still not allowed.

As for the closing hours, every premise in Ireland has to shut its doors to all customers by 11:30 pm under the new guidelines.

The calls for additional changes to be made come following a tumultuous week for the sector after it emerged that the Tánaiste admitted to being one of the VIP guests at the garden party in the Merrion Hotel that was hosted by a former ministerial colleague of his, Katherine Zappone, on July 21st.

The news infuriated the hospitality sector who had been operating in line with Fáilte Ireland guidelines that put a limit of six adults per party on gatherings.

It was later confirmed that parties for up to 200 people are now allowed outdoors and live music is back for outside areas in pubs and restaurants.

A spokesman for Fáilte Ireland said on Friday morning: “Following the advice by the Attorney General on 4 August that regulations do provide for organised outdoor events and gatherings up to 200 people, the relevant Fáilte Ireland guidelines have been updated today.”

Over the weekend, it was also reported that Irish pubs and restaurants could be allowed to stay open later and table size limits may be lifted next month too.

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