The Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) has said that the possibility of pubs being unable to reopen until a vaccine for COVID-19 is developed is a nightmare scenario for the pub sector, and that such a scenario would result in many venues going out of business for good.
The above assertion was in reaction to minister for health Simon Harris telling The Sunday Independent that he "can't see how people can be in packed pubs again as long as this virus is still with us and we don't have a vaccine or an effective treatment", and suggesting that a vaccine or treatment won't arrive until 2021.
"Essential That A Pub Specific Support Scheme Is Introduced"
LVA chief executive Donall O'Keeffe stated, "That is the absolute nightmare scenario for the entire pub sector. If that happens, then most pub businesses in this country will be out of business for good.
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"The LVA and its members will absolutely support whatever measures are deemed necessary in the interests of public health, as we have done from the beginning of this crisis, but if closing pubs until 2021 is going to be necessary, then it is essential that a pub specific support scheme is introduced. Otherwise there won't be a pub industry in this country by the time a vaccine is found.
"The LVA welcomed the strong government support for the 50,000 staff laid off as a result of the crisis. This will have to be extended for the duration of the pub closure period. However, unless it is supplemented with a specific support scheme to keep the pubs themselves afloat, the staff will have no jobs to return to.
"This is undoubtedly a very difficult time for everyone in this country. While Minister Harris is doing an exceptional job at a time of national crisis, his comments have really petrified the entire pub sector across the country and many are now concerned not only about how to survive this pandemic, but also whether they will still have a business when this crisis eventually passes."
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