Pubs and Covid-19 restrictions

 

A chara, – Once again, I am sitting pondering the fact that, while I can travel to Italy and enjoy a drink, I cannot travel 130 metres to the public house closest to my home for the simple pleasure of a bottle of stout (“Pubs to remain closed until September as restrictions tightened significantly,” Front page, August 5th).

I could use the opportunity of a cheap flight to Italy for a relaxing holiday if it were not for the fact that, like many communities dependent on private bus operators, Portlaw has been without a bus service since March 2020.

Covid-19 is not going away and, rather than simply keeping public houses closed, the Government should be engaging with the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland to try and find a means to reopen public houses with minimum risk to the staff/public. Micheál Martin can sympathise with pub owners all he likes but sympathy does not put food (or drink) on the table. Keeping public houses shut has not stopped the increase in the number of new cases and no evidence has been provided by the Government that the limited reopening of public houses that serve food has had any effect. Regretfully Mr Martin finds it easier to do nothing than to do anything. – Is mise,

KEVIN CROTTY,

Portlaw,

Co Waterford.

Sir, – I entirely agree with your correspondent Conor Brady (August 6th) regarding the bizarre reporting of the extended pub closures. It would appear to me many publicans, who have not opened their doors, are simply waiting for more taxpayer compensation in the handout culture that pervades parts of our society.

While I accept many pubs have no catering facilities, there is hardly a pub in Ireland that is not relatively close to some form of take-out, even a local chipper. If they truly believe they are performing some form of social service then why are they not entering into deals with local take-outs to provide a €9 meal so they can serve drink? They would have to create a hygiene area for the plating up of the food, which could use disposable plates, etc. If there are no take-outs then a local store or petrol station could provide pre-packed sandwich meals (the cost of a fridge is very small these days and could be made a deductible cost).

The argument that customers do not want food is crass; everyone has to eat every day and if they truly want the social surroundings of having a drink in their local, then they can eat a €9 meal because they will likely spend multiples of that cost on drink anyway. – Yours, etc,

JOHN STAUNTON,

Rathfarnham,

Dublin 14.

Sir, – May I suggest the Government stop spending vast sums of money encouraging people to come to the west, and instead allow rural pubs to open so we can “have a conversation”? – Yours, etc,

GARETH SMYTH,

Louisburgh, Co Mayo.

Sir, – I appreciate that a number of businesses are suffering due to restrictions imposed to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

I believe anyone lobbying for a relaxation of restrictions in their sector/premises should be asked, and answer, one question: “How confident are you that no one person will die from contracting Covid-19 as a result of such a relaxation?” – Is mise,

PAUL CULLEN,

Rush, Co Dublin.

Sir, – Most publicans have paid for licences which they have not made use of for nearly six months. These come up for renewal next month. It would relieve financial pressure if the renewal date was pushed out to March next year. Pubs serving food could renew as normal. – Yours, etc,

P J Mc GARRY,

Blackrock, Co Dublin.

Sir, – Recent reporting (Seán McCarthaigh August 3rd and Brian Hutton, August 4th, Home News) notes the extensive concerns of both the Vintners Federation of Ireland and Licensed Vintners’ Association in relation to the opening of pubs. With current downloads of the contact tracking app at only 1.5 million it is not realistic to open the pubs, which is key to suppressing any surge in the virus. Both of these organisations could considerably further their cause by requiring all their potential customers to download the app before entering their premises. – Yours, etc,

STIOFAN DE BHULBH,

Dublin 6.

Sir, – Thankfully the advice of NPHET was listened to over and above the clamour from the LVA , VFI and self-interested publicans. — Yours, etc,

HUGH MCDERMOTT,

Co Leitrim.