When we all watch the Reeling in the Years for 2020 a decade from now and try to make sense of the covid era, no doubt we'll all be flummoxed by the decision by the Irish government to make a €9 'substantial meal' compulsory for anyone choosing to visit a public house.
As we inch closer to the reopening of the hospitality sector, it appears that the substantial meal rule is thankfully going to be binned by the government.
We definitely understand the logic behind stopping indoor drinking and dining, but we've never really understand how a €9 meal could have any tangible impact on preventing the spread of covid. The rule gave Michael Healy-Rae a rare opportunity to speak sense in the Dáil back in the summer.
I raised the anger of publicans across Kerry and Rural Ireland today at the fact they cannot open, simply because they do not serve Ham and Cheese Sandwiches.
Have a look at my interaction with the Tainiste at Leaders Questions todays. pic.twitter.com/cdQQMgjkQZ
— Michael Healy-Rae (@MHealyRae) July 16, 2020
Healy Rae would say:
‘Because, can I ask you this question Tánaiste, and on the record, I would like for you to explain to me this: What is the difference between a person inside in a public house with a pint of Guinness in this hand and a toasted cheese sandwich in this hand and a person inside in another pub with a pint of Guinness and no toasted cheese sandwich?
‘Could you please give me the medical — you are a doctor — could you please explain to me why that poses a public health danger to that person drinking that pint and eating that sandwich or not?’
The rule meant many kitchen-less pubs could not re-open and lead to many farcical hospitality situations up and down the county.
Eamon Ryan of the Green Party told journalists today that the rule would go this morning when hospitality restarts.
However there is confusion about the exact date that outdoor dining and drinking can resume. Some reports say it will be May 24, others June 1.
Late May is also being mooted as a time when all noncontact sport training can resume. The government will meet tonight to decide on these dates, having reviewed the advice of NPHET on the reopening of society.