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10.27 2 Aug 2020


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Delaying the reopening of pubs under Phase 4 of the government roadmap could be a "tipping point" for many pubs which may not survive extended closures.

Pubs that only serve alcohol are due to reopen on August 10th as part of the easing of restrictions.

Padraig Cribben, Chief Executive of the Vintners' Federation of Ireland, says delaying their reopening should not be the answer in attempting to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases here.

It comes after 45 new cases of coronavirus were confirmed in the Republic, bringing the total number here to 26,109

Mr Cribben told Newstalk Breakfast: "Our members are very apprehensive because we are hearing very similar language which we heard coming up to July 20th which was the date we were supposed to open.

"Back then we heard there was a growing number of cases and the real problem was house parties and travel and the antidote to that was to keep the pubs closed which from a logical point of view we failed to see."

He requested that the pubs not be seen as "a means to send a message to the public".

He said: "What happened then, and what we're fearful of now, is that the pubs are being used as collateral damage to send a message instead of going to where the problem is and solving the problem."

Mr Cribben said whether Phase 4 will go ahead as planned is "an absolute tipping point" for many pubs which may not survive extended closures.

"There is no business that I know of that can take five months closed with almost no support and survive.

"A lot of these pubs are based in areas where they make a few bob in the summer to pay the bills in the winter."

He said if the reopening goes beyond August 10th then such pubs face "very serious problems and problems of a magnitude that some may not recover from".

Safety guidelines

Mr Cribben sought to assure the public that visits to pubs would be safe.

He said: "There are over 3,000 pubs open for the last five weeks with a set of guidelines, subjected to the most rigorous safety regimes of any business ever in this country."

Thousands of inspections had been carried out to ensure these establishments were complying with COVID-19 guidelines, with only a small majority found to be in breach of the rules, he said.

He said: "Don't treat us as if we're not responsible enough to be given the guidelines and given the opportunity to trade."

Main image: Social distancing in place in Toners Pub on Baggot Street in June. Photo: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

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Coronavirus Covid-19 Phase 4 Pubs Reopening Vitners Association

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