When Ireland’s pubs reopen, having a pint might require a reservation

Unpublished report recommends online booking and table service for sector

The draft guidelines for pubs recommend reduced seating and table service wherever possible

Pubs due to reopen next month should consider a system of online reservations for customers while groups will not be able to use the smoking area together, according to unpublished guidelines for the sector.

The draft guidelines, seen by The Irish Times, state that customers should order from their table while there should be a new partition at the bar itself in case customers approach bartenders. Carvery will be allowed as long as it is plated up by staff.

There will be increased cleaning in toilets and communal areas while managers will be asked to ensure that social distancing is being observed.

The guidelines, which are being developed by Fáilte Ireland, the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) and Government officials, recommend that pubs “consider an online reservation option for customers, as not only will this communicate new procedures and practices, but it will also limit the requirement for queuing”.


“The amount of seating and stools must be reduced and customers should order from their seat wherever possible to reduce queues.

“In circumstances where table service is not provided, customers will be encouraged to maintain strict physical distancing whilst ordering from a dedicated service area at the bar, with a partition in place between the customer and the bartender.”

To reduce queues in bar areas, customers will be asked to remain seated and order from their seat wherever possible. “Customers must not be encouraged to go outside in groups to smoke. This is to ensure that it’s possible to maintain physical distancing.”

Open bar snacks or finger food will be served to individual customers but cannot be shared by a table. When pouring drinks bartenders will be told they must handle glasses by the stem or base and then place the drink on the bar counter before serving.

“Do not place the nozzle, tap, optic or bottle into the glass when pouring.”

Placemats will be replaced with linen or single-use disposable mats and glasses will be air dried.

Frequent cleaning

The frequency of cleaning will be increased in all public spaces but especially toilets and communal areas.

“The frequency of cleaning and disinfection must be increased in all public spaces to at least twice daily. Particular attention must be paid to frequently touched surfaces, which must be visibly clean at all time. These includes counters, door handles, public bathrooms, stair handrails, dining surfaces and seating areas.”

A strict queuing system for the toilets and limitations on number of users must also be enforced to ensure physical distancing.

Bars are due to reopen next month under the last phase of the Government roadmap. However a large number of pubs that can operate as restaurants will open at the end of this month, on June 29th. Industry bodies are awaiting clarification on how these pubs should operate after they were told they must serve a substantial plate and also use table service.

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times