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Temple Bar pubs set to play waiting game before big reopening

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The popular Temple Bar pub in Dublin city centre

The popular Temple Bar pub in Dublin city centre

The popular Temple Bar pub in Dublin city centre

Two of Dublin's best-known pubs will not reopen their doors at the end of this month as they adopt a more cautious approach to serving customers post-Covid.

An umbrella group representing Temple Bar venues said they will not be opening early and will instead wait until the start of phase four on July 20.

Some 20 bars and restaurants in Dublin's hospitality hub, including the Temple Bar pub and Oliver St John Gogarty, are adopting a "slow and steady" approach.

Rushing

The Temple Bar Company's chief executive Martin Harte said a few businesses in the area will be opening on June 29, but the majority will stay closed until all safety measures are in place.

They have received advice from bar owners in Hong Kong and believe rushing the process could be counter-productive.

"It's all about safety first. You don't want to rush to re-open an area like Temple Bar, only to have to close it down again," he said.

"We're looking at the most workable safety features first. It shouldn't be a race to the bottom. One serious mistake could end up closing down all the bars in the city."

The latest update from Failte Ireland is advising pubs and bars to keep the contact details of one person from each group which visits the venue.

The time limit for customers has also been raised to 105 minutes after an outcry from the industry that the original proposal of 90 minutes wouldn't even allow someone to watch a full sports match.

Mr Harte believes a lot of the proposed guidelines for bars are "a bit mad", including putting a time limit on customers.

However, he agreed with clients supplying their personal details to aid contract tracing as that was vital in places like Hong Kong, which reopened its bars on May 8.

Meanwhile, a leading publican has criticised the information surrounding the reopening of bars and restaurants on June 29 as "very unclear".

Noel Anderson, who runs two landmark bars in Dublin, said confusion surrounded a lot of the information being released, with just 10 days left before the industry reopens.

"In relation to contract tracing, if that's what's required of us for the greater good to beat this thing, well then that's what we should do," he said.

"I think the messaging has been very unclear on it in relation to walk-ups and having to book in."

The vice-president of the Licensed Vintners Association, he runs The Bridge in Ballsbridge as well as Lemon and Duke, in Dublin's city centre.

He is taking a two-pronged approach when it comes to keeping within Covid-19 health and safety guidelines.

"Our plan is to take bookings but also to have a member of staff on the door looking after walk-ups and taking one lead person's details," he said.

"GDPR is a factor here also so we will need clear guidelines around that."

He also wants to see the wage subsidy scheme maintained.