The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) has said that the 'continued absence of a coherent roadmap' to offer guidance on when the pub sector is scheduled to reopen is causing 'huge distress to publicans, their families and staff'.
The group said that last week's announcement regarding the planned easing of restrictions was a 'missed opportunity', as it should have contained clear details on how and when pubs can reopen, while also taking into account factors such as how many people need to vaccinated before a safe reopening can commence.
“The pub sector is not calling for a reopening date but we urgently require an understanding of how we get to reopen," commented Padraig Cribben, VFI chief executive. "Right now, our members exist in an information vacuum that is causing severe distress.
“Countries like Denmark and England have clear timelines for reopening different sectors of society. We need a plan that links the vaccine roll out to reopening. [...] It’s very worrying for our members who badly need a some message of hope for the future."
Elsewhere, the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) has also called on the government to offer some guidance on when reopening might be possible, in order to 'provide hope' to the beleagured hospitality sector.
"After such an extended closure the Government has a duty of care to provide a pathway forward for the hundreds of thousands of people employed by these sectors," commented Donall O’Keeffe, Chief Executive of the LVA. "They can’t be left in perpetual lockdown.
“As we move into the second quarter of the year, surely it is time that the Government started sharing their broad plans with the rest of the country. We need hope. Hope is the glue that binds the current social contract and it needs to be tended to."
More than a third of the pubs operating in the capital have not been able to open their doors since 15 March 2020, while food pubs have been shut since Christmas.
"No one is anticipating specific reopening dates will be announced at this point," O'Keeffe added. "But it is reasonable to expect that various indicators could be made publicly available, like the level of vaccines that will need to be administered or what levels of community transmission will support the opening of different industries.
"That is the least the people who are dependent on these sectors deserve." [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.