SIR – GERMANY opened its pubs and restaurants on May 15th, with accompanying pandemic-hygiene rules applying.
Italy followed a few days later on May 18th. Holland removed its restrictions on bars and restaurants opening on June 1st.
Relaxed rules returned to Frances’s café society on June 16th, and this covered bars and restaurants. And if you didn’t already know, Sweden never had a lockdown. Its bars, restaurants and, gyms and hairdressers have remained open throughout the pandemic.
Despite the well-publicised progress made in neighbouring countries, in Ireland it took until June 29th for pubs with restaurants to be allowed to open.
As if to avoid any misunderstanding, chief medical officer Tony Holohan stated: ‘Peanuts and crisps should not be the only food publicans serve to customers in order
to reopen in June.’ So this left the publicans who served beer, alcohol and other drinks, but who didn’t serve food, out in the cold. And now the Taoiseach has decided pubs must stay closed, possibly until the end of the year.
This decision by the government is ill thought-out, unfair, and poses serious problems for many hard-working pub owners and landlords.
Pubs provide employment for thousands. Many pubs are the focal point of their communities, offer the warmth of an Irish welcome to tourists, many are synonymous with a bygone age, offering space for conversation, reflection and for some they are as important as the HSE, without its bureaucracy.
For heaven’s sake, let the pubs open.