Jack Quann
Jack Quann

21.42 27 Aug 2020


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Pubs will not re-open on Monday and are set to remain closed for several more weeks.

The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) is recommending they remain closed, due to the level of COVID-19.

On Thursday, 93 more cases of COVID-19 were confirmed here.

It means pubs which do not serve food will be closed for at least six months, after they were shut in March.

Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr Ronan Glynn, said earlier that the re-opening of pubs should not go ahead on August 31st.

"So NPHET did discuss that situation today - but given the current epidemiological situation and given the measures that are in place last week nationally, we felt that really we weren't in a position to re-open pubs at this point.

"But we will keep it under review".

He added: "In the first instance, I think we need a national focus over the next two weeks on getting the case numbers down.

"There are a set of measures already in place nationally; our focus has to be on getting case numbers down, controlling the spread of this disease and we will keep the re-opening of pubs - along with the other measures that might be able to be eased - under review over the coming weeks".

The Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI), an umbrella organisation which represents the drinks and hospitality industry, has called for a dedicated and immediate hospitality support package.

It also says there should be a reduction in excise tax in Budget 2021.

Pubs that serve food were allowed to re-open at the end of June - these make up 40% of pubs in the country.

DIGI says some 60% of pubs have remained closed for over five months now.

Rosemary Garth is chair of DIGI: "Irish pubs are generally small businesses with modest revenues.

"90% of pubs are located outside of Dublin, where they provide a place for their local communities to come together and socialise.

"They are key parts of our tourism product and our national culture.

"Irish pubs have endured the longest lockdown in the EU, losing half a year of business.

"The Government has so far failed to provide them with any kind of reassurance, certainty, or long-term support.

"For many publicans, the situation seems hopeless, and it is little surprise that in a recent industry survey as many as 63% said they had been under ‘extreme stress’. Many expect to be closed."

She added: "Government support next year will be too late, the damage will have been done.

"The drinks and hospitality sector needs financial support now, and, in addition, this budget should also provide an alcohol excise tax reduction.

"Without it, pubs will re-open with the second highest excise tax in the EU and we risk permanently losing hundreds of businesses and thousands of jobs, just as we did in the 2008 recession."

Additional reporting: Shane Beatty and Eoghan Murphy

Main image by Michael Bordießer-Krauth from Pixabay 

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