New guidelines for the reopening of Irish pubs could dramatically change the traditional pub experience for many.
The government expected all pubs to reopen by the middle of September and is finalising a new set of guidelines for premises that do not serve food.
New draft guidelines created by Fáilte Ireland are now being considered for the next phase.
Within the guidelines, pubs that do not serve food would see the 105 minute time-limit abolished if physical distancing of 2m is possible and tables are pre-booked. Where physical distance is 1 metre between tables, the time limit still applies.
Pubs, like current rules for restaurants and gastro-pubs, will have to close by 11.30pm.
The maximum amount of customers at a table is limited to six people from no more than three households.
The guidelines would also seek to minimise the use of decorative features in drinks, such as cocktail umbrellas, and straws should be individually wrapped. There will be strict rules for bar staff in the preparation of drinks and there should be minimal handling of glasses. A fresh glass will be required for each new drink, the document advises.
The days of sitting at the bar are over too. As with gastropubs now, the bar counter cannot be used for seating or service to customers. Customers will have to order drinks from their seats.
Cleaning and disinfecting should be carried out more frequently and all tables, chairs, trays and pens.
Other rules on contact tracing will be similar to current guidelines for restaurants and pubs that are currently open and selling food.
The government is set to publish a new roadmap to allow more of the economy and society to reopen during Covid-19. The roadmap, due on 14th September, is expected to include measures for the reopening of drink-only pubs and allowing spectators back to sports fields.