June 17, 2020 / 9:56 PM / a month ago

Ireland cuts minimum distance between pub customers if food served

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland has halved the minimum “social distance” between customers in pubs to 1 metre (3.2 feet) so long as other measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are enforced, the government said on Wednesday.

The move followed complaints by restaurant and bar owners that the minimum distance of 2 metres between people advised in most other settings to avoid the spread of the respiratory disease would make their businesses uneconomical.

Bars, which have been closed since March, will be able to open from June 29. But customers will only be served if they are eating meals and will only be allowed to stay in the bar for one hour and 45 minutes, according to the guidelines published by the national tourism development authority.

Customers will have to book a table in advance and must provide contact details for one of their party to allow authorities to warn them if another customer or staff member subsequently is diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the guidelines.

Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Peter Cooney

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