Una Mullally: The idea of physical distancing in pubs is an absolute nonsense

Nighttime economy can be reset to boost big ideas beyond clutch of usual lobbyists

For many pubs, the economics of a place like Dublin are completely incompatible with what physical distancing requires. Photograph: Eric Luke

For many pubs, the economics of a place like Dublin are completely incompatible with what physical distancing requires. Photograph: Eric Luke

The publication of the Government’s roadmap for a phased reopening of Irish society and businesses offered some semblance of hope and structure for anyone wondering about the near and medium-term future. It is also aspirational, hypothetical, and for many businesses, completely impractical. This is not the fault of the Government, but we cannot frame an exceptional new reality as a new normal. There is nothing normal about the extraordinary. 

Many people are missing social outlets, and many of those social outlets will be impossible to shoehorn into the awkward structure of physical distancing. For better or for worse, the Irish pub is fundamental to socialising in Ireland, and it’s hard to see how pubs, bars and nightclubs will come close to operating in any regular sense by the end of the year, if not beyond that.

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