Ireland is well known for its endless amount of pubs. Yet, the Emerald Isle will be without them for a few more months due to the coronavirus outbreak. On Sunday, the prime minister of Ireland, Leo Varadkar, laid out his five-phase roadmap to restarting the economy and bouncing back from the shutdown. This is a plan similar to what is happening in the states as President Donald Trump aims to jumpstart the country after the financial burdens placed on it amid the pandemic. Despite its smaller population, there are a little less than five million residents in the country, there have been 21,000 positive cases and more than 1,300 deaths. Strict restrictions have been enacted in Ireland, including how far people can travel from their homes. As part of the plan to reopen the country, pubs in Ireland will not be back open for business until Aug. 10.
Pubs will be a part of the fifth and final step in Varadkar's plan. This will also include the resuming of larger social gatherings. To start, the first phase will occur on May 18 and will allow some outdoor workers to return and certain retail shops to open its doors again. "So on the 18th of May, Ireland begins to reopen and begins that journey to a new normal," Varadkar noted. Three weeks later, stores that can accommodate social distancing guidelines will be allowed to open. The third and fourth steps will begin to bring back social life and tourism, as restaurants will be able to open under social distancing rules. Additionally, certain tourist destinations and hotels coming back on July 20.
Speaking to The Irish Post, Chief Executive Donall O'Keeffe explained how he feels pubs are being mistreated in this situation. "We're bitterly disappointed really, pubs are being treated as second-class citizens, they are the last channel in the hospitality sector to open," O'Keeffe said. "We are calling on them to work with us on a re-opening plan for pubs. Social distancing challenges are the same for all hospitality businesses and all hospitality businesses should be able to open at the same time.”
The plan, however, is all contingent on the number of new cases lining up for the projections. If Varadkar feels the trend is heading the wrong direction, the current timeframe could be switched up and pushed back. This would ultimately mean pubs could see an even further delay in opening.