Hospitality Ulster still frustrated by remaining rules after easing

Pubs and restaurants remain frustrated with the coronavirus restrictions in Northern Ireland, despite the relaxation of some rules from tomorrow onwards.

Thursday, 9th September 2021, 11:08 am
Colin Neill, chief executive of Hospitality Ulster

Customers will be permitted to place orders at bars rather than wait for table service from tomorrow, as well as play pool or darts in pubs.

But the remaining requirement for social distancing of one metre, and for food and drink to be consumed while customers are seated, are still causing difficulties, according to Hospitality Ulster chief executive Colin Neill.

“We welcome the removal of some restrictions, but it is very incremental,” he said.

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“We are still all seated and the social distancing rule of one metre remains.”

Mr Neill continued: “Those, actually, are the biggest things that impact the viability of our industry. They impact the capacity.

“The restaurant side is probably operating at about two-thirds capacity, but the non-food pub is probably at about 30% capacity.”

He added: “In a few weeks we will start taking bookings for Christmas, but we don’t know what rules we will be under.

“We need a roadmap now with indicative dates. If that can’t come forward, we need to know what the Executive are doing to support the businesses which support 72,000 jobs — because furlough is ending.”