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Hospitality Venues To Be Required To Close At Midnight

By Dave Simpson

All hospitality venues will be required to close by midnight from Thursday November 18.

LVA Response

In a statement published on its website, the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) said, "The Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) has called on the government to immediately reintroduce COVID supports for the late night sector and also develop practical longer term solutions for hospitality.  This follows the news that the government is to reimpose restrictions on the late night industry with all hospitality venues now required to trade no later than midnight from Thursday.

"The LVA has said this will be extraordinarily difficult for those working in late bars, nightclubs and the rest of the late night sector and will place considerable pressures on livelihoods in the run up to Christmas. It also places a question mark on the longer term viability of the late night industry until such time as a practical longer term solutions are developed that allow businesses to trade while the pandemic persists.

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"In relation to supports, the LVA said it was essential that the various measures such as the CRSS, EWSS and PUP were reimplemented immediately in full for the late night sector and anyone who will be impacted by these latest restrictions, along with the waiving of commercial rates for as long as the restrictions remain in place.

"'Effectively this latest announcement means that the current government strategy isn't working,' said Donall O'Keeffe, chief executive of the LVA. 'We were told that if we waited until the majority of the public was vaccinated we would be able to get back to trading. Well we waited and that wasn't enough.

"'Like the rest of the country, of course we are conscious of the worsening health situation. But this will still be really hard news for those working in the sector to take. Late night hospitality was closed for 585 consecutive days, got to open for 27 days and now they face another indefinite period of closure. It also needs to be acknowledged that every time the government flicks the switch on restrictions there are consequences for people's livelihoods and the businesses that sustain those livelihoods. We will have enormous difficulty retaining our staff after this latest decision.

"'This latest reimposition of restrictions casts significant doubt about the viability of the late night sector for as long as the pandemic persists. When will we be in a position to allow that sector to reopen and trade again? Will we have to go through this whole process again and again? What is to stop this cycle from repeating itself next year?

"'What seems clear is that more nuanced, longer term, practical solutions are now needed. Solutions that will enable environments that are regarded as 'high risk' to operate safely. For example, perhaps now the government needs to start examining affordable ventilation schemes for the industry?

"'In the short term it is critical that the government immediately outlines the reintroduction of the full level of supports for the people who will once again find themselves out of work and for the businesses who employ them. That is the absolute minimum required and is the essential first step before our sector can begin a bigger conversation about what co-existing with this pandemic really means,' Mr. O'Keeffe concluded."

VFI Response

Meanwhile, in a statement published on its website, the Vintners' Federation of Ireland (VFI) said, "The Vintners' Federation of Ireland (VFI) says the news that restricted trading hours are set to be reintroduced is a hugely disappointing development for the many late-night pubs and nightclubs many of whom will now be forced to shut just three weeks after reopening.

"Supports for businesses who will now have to shut must be introduced with immediate effect.

"VFI chief executive Padraig Cribben says, 'The decision to introduce a new closing time of midnight from this Thursday will effectively close many late night pubs and night clubs. It will also seriously restrict other outlets at the most critical time of the year. Given the deteriorating health situation it's no surprise government is forced to take action but it is disappointing that the hospitality sector is at forefront of those actions. Supports will now be vital for impacted businesses and we're calling for the immediate reintroduction of the COVID Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) for members who have to close.

"'Restricted trading hours will also impact traditional pubs who have to cope with cancelled bookings ahead of what was meant to be a busy Christmas period as public health advice is to avoid social gatherings. Given the new curfew and reduced trade the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) must be maintained in full until all restrictions are removed.

"'We were told back in August after indoor trade was reopened that restrictions would be fully removed in October. We're now in a position where restrictions are actually getting tighter. Supports will be crucial in the months ahead, a fact government needs to address immediately for the simple reason the trade cannot sustain another period of profound uncertainty,' concludes Mr. Cribben."

RAI "Dining Week"

The above news follows the RAI's announcement of "Dining Week".

In a statement published on its website, the RAI said, "We are delighted to announce the launch of Dining Week, a nationwide initiative to bring diners back into our restaurants during the quiet period from January 28th to 6th February 2022.

"Dining Week presents restaurants with a wonderful chance to showcase their venue and the quality of their produce. It is a celebration of the Irish food scene!

"Why get involved?
"• Dining Week is an initiative to support the restaurant industry.
"• It will be promoted by a nationwide media campaign supported by Failte Ireland and the Restaurants Association of Ireland.
"• There is NO CHARGE to take part in Dining Week
"• You can control the number of customers that can get the offer
"• We expect to see thousands of diners enjoy great food over the 10 day period.

"How do I sign up to take part?
"For Dining Week restaurants are encouraged to provide a 25% food only discount on a la carte menus. All beverages are charged at full price. To support the industry and sign up to Dining Week just click this link to register your interest. Our team will contact you to get you set up. If you would like to fill your restaurants, motivate staff and keep the tills ringing during this quiet period then SIGN UP TODAY.

"We look forward to working with you,

"Kind Regards,
"Dining Week Team."

© 2021 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.

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Enjoy full access to Hospitality Ireland, our weekly email news digest, all website and app content, and every digital issue.
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