The Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) and the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) have welcomed the government's announcement that pubs can reopen from July 20, three weeks earlier than originally planned, and that pubs that serve food can reopen at the same time as the rest of the hospitality sector on June 29.
"A Welcome Shot In The Arm"
VFI chief executive Padraig Cribben stated, "This is a welcome shot in the arm for publicans who will have been closed for more than four months by the time they reopen on 20th July. Pubs were the first sector to close on 15th March, a decision our members supported for the good of public health.
“Moving the reopening of pubs to July means publicans can avail of an extra three weeks trading, something that is particularly relevant as it extends the summer season. While the government's announcement will come as a major relief to the trade, it shouldn't mask the precarious future faced by pubs. Altering social distancing guidelines to one metre remains a priority as this would give publicans some chance of running a viable business until a time when social distancing rules no longer apply."
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Meanwhile, LVA chief executive Donall O'Keeffe commented, "After a prolonged period of uncertainty, pubs who serve food are relieved to finally receive the green light from government that they can definitely reopen along with restaurants on 29th June. We were consistent in advocating for pubs to receive the same treatment as other hospitality businesses that serve food and drink, so we are pleased that the government has taken this on board in the adjusted reopening roadmap.
"Attention throughout the sector will now switch to what guidelines will be in place for the reopening. Pubs will need time to adapt their premises to address the guidance so we are eagerly awaiting the advice to come from NPHET. As our recent capacity report showed, utilising the World Health Organization (WHO) social distancing guidance of one metre will make a substantial difference to business viability, and we hope that will be addressed in the hospitality sector guidance.
"Pubs will adapt and, while it may take time for our valued customers to become accustomed to this new reality, it's important to remember this won't be forever and a strong and vibrant trade will emerge at the end of this crisis."
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