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Bittersweet day as restaurants reopen but wet pubs remain firmly shut

Publicans say it’s a ‘bittersweet’ day as gastropubs and restaurants reopen, but ‘wet pubs’ across the country stay shut.

Indoor and outdoor dining will be allowed in restaurants, cafes and pubs that serve food, as part of the return to level three restrictions.

Public health measures must be in place, while pubs will need to have a kitchen on-site in order to be allowed welcome back customers.

Customers are being advised to pre-book, and tables will be limited to just six people.

‘Wet pubs’, meanwhile, are only allowed to serve takeaway or delivery services, and will remain closed throughout the Christmas period.

Chief Executive of the Vintners Federation Padraig Cribbens says publicans who aren’t allowed to reopen feel they can’t be trusted.

He said: “It is a bittersweet day – for every one that has opened, there is one that has been told by Micheál Martin, Leo Varadkar and Eamon Ryan that they, their 25,000 staff and the communities that they serve are not to be trusted to take personal responsibility to allow reopening in a safe manner.

The vast majority of these have been open already. They have been subjected to in excess of 30,000 visits from the gardaí.

“There have only been a very small number found to be in breach of the guidelines.”

The group is calling on the Government to immediately engage to agree the terms to open all pubs and compensate wet pubs which are shut.

Ministers have pledged additional support for the sector, beyond what is already in place.

Restaurants reopening

Meanwhile, the Restaurants Association of Ireland wants restaurants to remain open into the New Year.

The reopening will see inspections of premises by gardaí and the Food Safety Authority over the coming days and weeks.

Restaurants Association of Ireland Chief Executive, Adrian Cummins is encouraging customers to stick to the guidelines.

He said: “We’re advising customers pre-book, [although] some businesses will have walk-ins.

“Make sure you have no more than six people at a table… you have your face mask coming into the restaurant… [use] hand sanitiser. Do everything you’re supposed to do within the guidelines.”

He said the association is ‘extremely pleased’ restaurants and gastro pubs are being allowed reopen – and that businesses want to provide a safe and secure environment for diners.

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