Publicans have called for indoor trading to resume no later than Thursday July 1.
The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland said that after “sacrificing” their businesses for over 15 months, now is the time for Government to confirm that pubs can fully reopen by the first week in July in time for the traditional start of the summer tourist season.
While the VFI welcomed the reopening of pubs for outdoor trading on June 7, it said that running an outdoor-only business is not sustainable that for the vast majority of its members, so clarity on when publicans can resume indoor trading is required this week.
“Every day counts for our members and they need to hear from Government this week that indoor trading can resume no later than July 1,” Padraig Cribben, VFI’s chief executive said.
Mr Cribben said the successful vaccination programme is sending a strong signal that life is returning to something approaching normal.
“This week pubs in the North will reopen indoors, three weeks after outdoor trading started there. We have said all along that pubs in the Republic should follow the same timeline, which would see our members reopen indoors by July 1,” Padraig Cribben said.
“We can’t have a two-tier pub sector on the island for longer than a couple of weeks as already people are crossing the border to socialise,” the VFI CEO said.
“As we remain on course to have the vast majority of the population receive their first vaccination by the end of June, it follows that a full reopening of pubs should then be permitted,” he said,
“When our pubs do reopen they must follow strict social distancing guidelines and we are asking Government to get those guidelines published immediately so our members can begin preparations,” he added.
He said the Government must bring finality to what has been a “catastrophic” period for the pub trade.