According to new Revenue figures, the Irish government is paying an average of €1.6 million per week for turnover lost by pubs that do not serve, or so-called "wet pubs", while they are required to remain closed to attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.
As reported by The Irish Independent, the Revenue figures indicate that "wet pubs" account for €9.5 million of €79.3 million in claims that have been made to date under the COVID-19 Relief Support Scheme (CRSS), which compensates businesses that are required to close or trade at a significantly reduced capacity due to COVID-19-related health and safety measures.
"Wet pubs" make up 20% of the premises that are seeking payments under the CRSS and account for 12% of payments, with an average weekly claim amount of €570, which is at the lower end of the payment scale.
Cafés and restaurants are receiving an average weekly payment of €1,270 while pubs that serve food receive €1,750 per week.
Based on the €9.5 million that has already been paid to "wet pubs" under the CRSS at an average claim period of six weeks, an average of €1.6 million is going to all closed pubs on a weekly basis. This figure will double during the period from December 18 to January 6.
LVA And VFI Statements
Stating that the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) believes that the support currently being received by "wet pubs" is insufficient, an LVA spokesperson said, "The level of support is barely enough to keep these pubs going. The amount available through CRSS and other supports doesn't even always cover the ongoing costs for pubs that remain closed."
Meanwhile, Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) CEO Pat Cribben stated, "Publicans who are prevented from reopening will need increased levels of support until they are allowed trade. If government want a viable pub trade remaining when the pandemic ends, they need to amend the CRSS payment structure upwards for wet pubs."
Cribben added that the three-week double payment from December 18 until January 6, which will equate to an average of €1,710 per pub, is "a long way from the top rate that is available to only a handful of businesses".
© 2020 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.