Wednesday, 9 December 2020
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
The Leader of the House has said that sometimes supports or restrictions can be tweaked after their announcement because of the nature of Covid-19 and the challenges we face. I raise an issue concerning food outlets and pubs that genuinely fall between being a wet pub and a gastropub. This situation was not foreseen. The restrictions in December include the clause that a designated food preparation area must be on-site, indoors and a permanent part of the building. These seek to discourage the partnerships of convenience that popped up previously and ensure there is a controlled environment. I fully appreciate that but there are also pubs with permanent food partnerships that were established long before Covid-19 and do not fit the criteria. For example, I know of a family business in Dublin 15 that consists of a long-established pub and a coffee and pizza van with picnic tables. The pub and van have different branding and are different businesses but they both trade on the same premises. The pub business has faced a lot of challenges and the sad part is that this pub has innovated in recent years to became more family-friendly and attract a new audience and new customers. Its partnership was approved by the environmental health officer last year, long before the onset of Covid-19. A substantial amount of money has been invested in making sure the entire premises is Covid-friendly and Covid-proofed. The hard part is that the proprietors expected to open over Christmas and invested but now they cannot open the premises. Can the pub or business trade if it had an established food partnership on-site that was approved, adheres to all of the rules and is open to inspection?