I am beginning to suspect that some of the people who are making decisions about Covid-19 restrictions, have never been in a pub in their lives.
I am, of course, wholly in favour of strict restrictions and guidelines – whatever is necessary to stop the spread of the disease.
I’m particularly vulnerable with Stage 4 COPD. So I find the likes of Gemma O’Doherty to be not just irritating but dangerous.
The thing is though, that when it comes to regulations some logic has to apply. Otherwise, the restrictions – whether in the form of laws or guidelines – will be treated with contempt.
For example, there’s the suggestion that pubs in the parts of Dublin most severely affected by Covid-19 will remain closed while pubs in parts not so severely affected will be allowed to open.
God almighty is there nobody on NPHET who ever got on a bus to get to a pub? Do they really think that if pubs in Dublin 6 are closed that people who fancy a pint won’t stroll across the road into Dublin 6W or Dublin 4?
Suggestions like that make those charged with keeping this disease at bay, look clueless. And they’re not. So far, they’ve done a pretty good job, better than in most other countries.
There’s another thing about pubs.
Every pub in the country is known to the Gardai. Every publican in the country is known to the Gardai – and I don’t mean that in the sense of “he’s known to the Gardai” when it’s applied to criminals. They are known to Gardai because they have to be licensed. So Gardai know the few publicans we might call “rogue.” And if pubs in small towns open, they’ll know where to look first.
So I can’t understand why a pub in a rural village can’t be allowed to reopen. In the first instance, you can be pretty sure the publican will stick to the rules because he or she wants to stay open. But they’ll also stick to the rules because they respect their customers and don’t want to put them at risk.
Could we not start by allowing pubs in towns or villages with a population of, say, 5,000 to open?
It would be easy enough to supervise. I mean, if suddenly a little pub in a rural village has coaches parked outside, it wouldn’t take Sherlock Holmes to spot it and order it closed.
We do need laws and regulations to help control this thing.
But we need common sense too.
Pissing people off isn’t going to help win the battle.
So if anyone on NPHET wants to hear my advice, I’ll meet them in the pub of their choice.
And I’ll even buy the pizza.