Publicans 'not optimistic' about reopening in September 1 month ago

Publicans 'not optimistic' about reopening in September

The reopening of pubs has been delayed twice in the past month.

The Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) and the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) have said they are "not optimistic" that pubs will be allowed to reopen at the beginning of September, following the recent changes to the roadmap for reopening society and business in Ireland.

The LVA and VFI said that they believe pubs are being treated differently to other sectors in Ireland, and have requested that financial funding be provided to all pubs being asked to stay closed.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the LVA said: "Last week, the Government announced that pubs who do not serve food must remain closed at least until 31 August 2020 – meaning 3,500 pubs employing 25,000 people across the country will have been unable to trade by Government order for a minimum of 168 days (46% of a year).

"This was the second time in three weeks the reopening had been delayed.

"If the Government is to further delay the reopening of pubs, both the LVA and VFI have said it is critical that a support package for the industry be simultaneously announced.

"They have called for measures which offer “meaningful support” in the form of grant aid to be included – not loans or cuts in indirect tax which will not benefit pubs that are closed."

Specifically, the organisations are looking for a 'Pub Support Package', as well as maintenance of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) and Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) at current rates for all closed pubs until their reopening and extension of current licences for a period of one year until September 2021.

“As we have made clear from the outset of this crisis, pubs want the opportunity to trade responsibly,” said Padraig Cribben, Chief Executive of the VFI.

“The pubs that are still closed can’t wait to get their doors open again, to interact with their customers and to earn a living. These businesses will abide by the public health requirements, they just want the same chance as was granted to the rest of the economy.

“The clear preference of these pubs is to reopen, but if the Government won’t let them then they owe these pubs special support. They are being denied their right to trade due to the public health situation and they should receive meaningful assistance for as long as that continues.

"It is also critical that should there be any further delays to reopening that the Government simultaneously announces a support package. The survival of these businesses depends on it.”

Representatives from the VFI and LVA recently met with Micheál Martin, Leo Varadkar and Mattie McGrath, where the above message was "directly conveyed" to the government officials.

Earlier on Wednesday, news emerged that Ireland may abandon the current phases approach to reopening society and business in favour of a colour-coded response to Covid-19 restrictions.