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Cabinet approves reopening of pubs

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Pubs have been given the green light to reopen on September 21st following a meeting of Cabinet on Tuesday morning.

Subject to local restrictions which are expected to arise from time to time, pubs not serving food will reopen to the public later this month with strict guidelines to be in place relating to hygiene and social distancing.

Discussions on the matter had taken place with the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) prior to a decision being reached.

Vintners groups criticised the draft Government guidelines that were circulated over the weekend and were prepared in consultation with Fáilte Ireland. Many of the criteria currently in place for restaurants operating as pubs will be adhered to.

They include maintaining customers records for the purpose of contact tracing, the allocation of time slots lasting one hour and forty five minutes where physical distancing of one metre cannot be maintained.

Members of the Clare VFI protested at the offices of Deputy Cathal Crowe (FF) and Deputy Joe Carey (FG) on Monday morning. They had appealed for the announcement of a definitive date on the reopening and clear guidelines on what preparations have to be made.

Speaking to The Clare Echo before a decision from Cabinet was forthcoming, Deputy Michael McNamara (IND) stated, “There has been a complete absence of evidence-based decision-making on the issue of public houses. Our pubs are surely not so different to the rest of Europe. It also is legitimate to ask questions given ridiculous proposals like allowing live concerts to resume only on the condition that alcohol cannot be served”.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, TheJournal.ie and The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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