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New pub normal will involve apps, masks and salt sachets

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The revised layout of O’Gormans pub in Portlaoise as they get ready to reopen

The revised layout of O’Gormans pub in Portlaoise as they get ready to reopen

The revised layout of O’Gormans pub in Portlaoise as they get ready to reopen

'I'll have a pint and face mask bag, please, when you're ready.'

Ireland's 7,500 pub owners and customers wonder if this could be a taste of things to come.

Guidelines are due next week to allow pubs with restaurant licences and those able to serve substantial meals to possibly open on June 29.

So what can we expect from a visit to a Covid-era pub?

Pub grub

Many pubs already have restaurant licences and others don't but were serving food before the Covid-19 outbreak.

They will still face the hurdle of ensuring their kitchen and food preparation areas meet rules on physical distancing and staff safety. If they rely on some of their food being catered outside, that might have to stop.

The biggest headache is for pubs which previously only served alcohol.

Chief medical officer Tony Holohan says a meal has to involve more than a few fellas having "a packet of peanuts."

The term "substantial meal" has been mentioned .

Sources point to the Intoxicating Liquor Act where it is regarded as a "main course."

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The rules in relation to enjoying a beer and a pizza in the pub are all changing since the pandemic

The rules in relation to enjoying a beer and a pizza in the pub are all changing since the pandemic

The rules in relation to enjoying a beer and a pizza in the pub are all changing since the pandemic

Their hope is that this might extend to tea and sandwiches in recognition of modern-day dining habits.

Face masks

It seems like face masks are everywhere all of a sudden. If they need to be worn on buses and in shops then they are likely to be part of the rules around pubs, particularly if the two-metre rule is reduced to one metre.

Staff will likely be wearing masks. If the guidelines follow those of other countries, customers will need to wear a mask entering the pub and they can take it off when eating or drinking.

You cannot just put it on the table. It should be placed in a paper bag which you bring with you or have supplied at the pub. You may need to put the mask back on if the member of staff is clearing the table and taking payment.

Menus

Table menus will probably have to be parked in order to minimise the chance of contamination.

Menus will have to be posted on boards or on phone apps. The bar staff may verbally inform customers what is on offer. Salt and pepper cellars will be similarly removed in favour of individual sachets.

Phone numbers

Pub owners are expected to ask for the phone numbers of all their customers.

This is important in order to ensure if there is a person who tests positive for the virus who was in the pub, then close contacts can be traced. It will be in the interest of all pubs to ensure they have as much of this information as possible.

Online reservation

If it's a Saturday night, customers might be asked to reserve a seat online.

Apps are coming into their own in the current era and allow for a more orderly system where advance notice is given and queues are avoided.

Zones

If it is a large pub, staff may be assigned to different zones and customers are likely to be told to minimise the movement between these areas.

Cocktail umbrellas

Decorations like cocktail umbrellas are likely to be dispensed with.

Fresh glasses will have to be used for each new drink.

When pouring drinks, employees will have to handle glasses by the stem or base, according to guidelines from Failte Ireland.

They have to avoid touching the nozzle, top optic or bottle against the glass.

Chatting to customers

Bar staff will be advised not to stay too long talking to customers.

Orders should be taken in a time-efficient way and at a suitable distance.

Close contact can mean spending more than 15 minutes face-to-face within two metres of an infected person.

It is likely to be left to the discretion of the bar owner, but the worst nightmare would be an outbreak of infection which would be linked to a customer who had too much to drink.