The Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) has said that following the publication of Northern Ireland's reopening plan, the Irish government should announce its plans for the reopening of hospitality venues, starting with a return to outdoor service in six weeks' time.
Next week will mark the 400th day that so-called 'wet pubs' have been closed in Ireland, and the LVA said that along with the suggested reopening of outdoor service from week beginning 24 May, indoor service for all pubs and restaurants should return 'shortly afterwards', aligned with the reopening of hotels across the country.
The LVA made its call as Northern Ireland said that it would allow all hospitality to reopen for outdoor service later this month from 30th April, while indoor service is set to resume on 24 May, a week later than in England (17 May).
Set Out A Plan
Get a FREE Digital Subscription!Enjoy full access to Hospitality Ireland, our weekly email news digest, all website and app content, and every digital issue.
“Following the publication of the reopening plan in Northern Ireland, the Government should now set out a plan for reopening hospitality in the Republic beginning in six weeks’ time,” said Donall O’Keeffe, chief executive of the LVA.
“The reopening should start with outdoor service for all hospitality, which includes traditional pubs, gastropubs and restaurants and with capacity dictated by social distancing. That timeframe would allow for the further rollout of the vaccine and would also ensure that NPHET’s request for social contact to remain unchanged for the next six weeks is met."
The LVA said that any delay between the reopening of hospitality in the North and in the Republic all lead to 'thousands of people making the journey across the Border every weekend'.
In addition, with the Taoiseach confirming hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs will be allowed to reopen in June, the LVA said the reopening of all indoor service should be aligned with that date.
"By the end of June more than 80% of the population will have received their first dose of the vaccine, so infection rates should have significantly diminished and the ‘vaccine bonus’ should allow for all indoor hospitality activity to resume," said O'Keeffe.
Elsewhere, the VFI has also called on the government to 'immediately publish its plan' for the reopening of the hospitality sector, following similar moves in England and Northern Ireland.
“There has been commentary from senior politicians here about allowing hotels reopen in June," said Cribben. "Our message is clear that if indoor premises such as hotels are deemed safe it logically follows that, with the appropriate measures in place, a pub is also safe. All hospitality outlets must open together." [Pic: ©Faithie/123RF.COM]
© 2021 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.