Time, please – and distance too


Sir, – I visited Düsseldorf, in Germany three weeks ago. I went to a pub and spent three hours there with family. On our arrival at the pub we sat outside at a table. The waitress arrived and presented us with a questionnaire (a one-liner) which each of us had to complete. We had to give our names, addresses, phone numbers and date and time of arrival. This was for contact tracing should the need arise.

On completion of the form we were then served.

If we needed to use the toilets inside the pub, we had to wear a facial covering as that is the rule inside all public places and forms of transport in Germany.

However, those people sitting inside at a table didn’t have to wear their masks once they were seated. We were not forced to eat any food if we didn’t want to. And we were allowed to remain as long as we wished.

It was all very easy and the evening was most enjoyable. It seems the Germans are being treated like responsible adults. Can’t we do the same here also? – Yours, etc,


Dublin 24.

Sir, – It seems that the environment will not be completely transformed for pub patrons when they re-enter their gastro – socially – distanced locals in a few weeks’ time.

The barman’s traditional decree of expulsion – “Time, gentlemen, please!!!” – is due to make a triumphant return; but probably after the good “curates” in charge have received a crash course in multivariate analysis and in Einstein’s theory of the relativity of space and time. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 9.

Sir, – The 105-minute time limit for pubs is truly the Covid-19 version of the 1978 Family Planning Bill’s “Irish solution for an Irish problem”. CJH — please come back – all is forgiven! – |Yours, etc,


Sandyford, Dublin.

A chara, – Has the €9 pub lunch been tested in the world’s leading laboratories and been clinically proven to be effective in combating Covid-19? Was the €8.50 soup and sandwich combo seen as just too risky?

And what of the proposed 90-minute time limit on visits to the pub? It seems like something that will almost certainly be impossible to implement. Will patrons be issued with timed tickets upon entering that will beep loudly when their allotted time is up? This will prove very frustrating if people have gathered in a pub to watch a soccer match and it goes to a penalty shootout with crowds having to leave just as crucial minutes are being added to a game.

How many amorous pursuits will be cruelly cut short by implementing this rule?

Are we in danger of straying in Pythonesque territory in our attempts to combat Covid-19? – Is mise,


Dublin 12.

Sir, – To sit again on tall stools, telling tall stories, swapping pints and philosophies; to experience Arthur’s and agriculture’s artistic alchemy; to imbibe again the wonderful transubstantiation of barley, roast malt, hops, yeast and water into that finished pint product; to observe the creamy natation, the slow crawl of the pint’s slipstream in the glass; to have my moustache whitened with the foamy head before exhaling a contented “aahh”; to accompany the slow, gleeful emptying of the vessel’s contents on the journey to the locus of my content; to once again take part in the ceremony of examining the empty glass, a ritual that always begets the question: “would you like another one?” Is it not too much to ask that the pubs open again so that I can enjoy a gout-defying pint of Guinness?

Who is the patron saint of drink? Whose statue must I kneel in front of to deliver me from the drought? Is there a Saint Arthur? Surely, they can make a vaccine for Covid-19 that includes Guinness! It would reduce the R-rate with the G-rate, which in other words would be great! – Yours, etc,



Sir, – A summary of the guidelines for the reopening of pubs by Jennifer Bray on June 17th couldn’t be clearer: 105-minute time slots, two metres social distancing for staff where possible, contact details of the lead person in each party, co-ordinated use of toilets, staff announcements about hand washing and one-metre physical distancing guideline for customers in “permitted controlled environments.”

However well-intentioned, these guidelines omit one significant factor. People generally go to pubs to drink alcohol, a psychoactive drug known for the suppression of psychological inhibitions. There are few among us who haven’t experienced social ease after even one or two drinks with or without food.

The guidelines above assume compliance by reasoning and a certain level of vigilance, both of which can be seriously impaired by drinking alcohol especially in moderate to large quantities. It is important that we name the real risks from taking a drug in a public space while expecting guidelines to be strictly followed. – Yours, etc,