Outdoor alcohol sales and consumption law should become a permanent, says VFI

Government plans to extend temporary rules welcomed by industry body

Representatives in the hospitality industry have said Government plans to temporarily extend a law allowing sale and consumption of alcohol in outdoor areas should become a permanent.

The Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) welcomed the Government’s plans to extend a temporary law to alcohol sales in outdoor seating areas of pubs and restaurants can continue during the summer months.

The law was introduced last year when An Garda Síochána said temporary outdoor areas for eating and drinking, introduced during Covid-19 restrictions, were not covered by the licensing laws.

The new law is due to lapse on May 31st. However, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee will bring a memo to Cabinet on Tuesday seeking a six-month extension until the end of November this year.

A spokesman for theVFI, which represents thousands of pubs outside Dublin. said this was “welcome news from the Minister”.

“Covid accelerated a growing trend towards outdoor drinking and dining, so this welcome news is recognition of where a sizable percentage of the hospitality trade finds itself,” the spokesman said.

“Extending the legislation brings clarity around an issue that was causing confusion among publicans last year. Given the legislation’s success in dealing with the issue we don’t see why it shouldn’t become a permanent change.”

The legislation was first introduced to assist the hospitality sector during Covid, but the extension is geared towards supporting the industry as it continues to recover from the pandemic.