A pint of pain: Lack of guidelines leaves 94 Kilkenny pubs in the dark just days before they are due to re-open
With just 11 days to go until pubs are allowed to reopen in Kilkenny, publicans have called on the government to publish the guidelines under which they are allowed turn on the taps again, and say time is running out to be able to implement the changes.
Of the close to 160 pubs in county Kilkenny, more than half – 94 bars, remain closed at present awaiting their opportunity to open on Monday, July 20.
However, the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) says publicans are getting anxious as they have not been given instruction from the government on what changes will be required and how they will have to adapt their business.
VFI member Marie Mellett, owner of Mellett’s Bar in Swinford, county Mayo says the lack of guidelines is hampering preparations for reopening.
“After placing public health first by agreeing to close our business over 120 days ago, we’re now crying out for the guidelines that will allow us reopen.
“For most rural pubs the bar counter is where all the action is, but we don’t even know if bar stools will be allowed. If they’re not, the impact on small pubs will be massive as many of our customers will only sit at the bar.
“It’s a simple question: ‘where are the guidelines?’ We are literally just days away from 20 July, but there is nothing from government,” Marie said.
And she believes the delay is causing great anxiety in some rural communities, with many of these unopened pubs serving as the only gathering locations or hospitality venues in their area.
Fellow publican, Joe Sheridan, who owns Walsh’s Bar in Dunmore, county Galway says the lack of guideline is affecting his ability to prepare and rehire staff.
“I’m completely in the dark about how we should prepare the pub for reopening. The guidelines are critically important for publicans who urgently need information about what work needs to be completed before we open.
“I also have staff wanting to know if they will be going back to work. The current situation is ludicrous and completely unfair to thousands of bar staff around the country and the local communities they serve.
“For most rural areas, the pub is far more than a place to have a drink. It’s where local communities come together. This delay is placing so much of our local life in jeopardy and leaves many villages without lights,” Joe concluded.