From Monday, all hospitality venues, theatres, and cinemas will have to abide by an 8pm curfew brought in by the Irish Government. The Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, has said that the curfew is needed to halt the spread of the Omicron variant, with the Licensed Vinters Association labelling the incoming mandate as “closure in camouflage”. MailOnline has more.
Padraig Cribben, Chief Executive of the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) said pubs would be forced to close their doors for the duration of the restrictions.
He added: “I guess the Government thinks we should feel grateful for the 8pm closing given Nphet’s demand for a 5pm curfew.
“The reality is this decision will decimate the trade that was already on its knees.
“Christmas was the one chance we had to recoup some of the losses amassed earlier in the year but we’re now in a situation where staff will lose their jobs and pubs will shut one week before Christmas as they see little point in opening under these conditions.
“While Government may see 8pm as a compromise the reality is that many pubs don’t open until 5pm so three hours trading is unworkable for them.
“Even for pubs that open earlier the majority of their trade takes place at night time.”
He added: “Given the relentless public health message over the past number of weeks to avoid socialising the public had already cancelled bookings in record numbers.
“There was no need to further restrict trading hours as our customers are safer in regulated pubs that adhere to guidelines instead of house parties and shebeens.
“Our members are left wondering what the plan is for hospitality.
“These restrictions are meant to be lifted at the end of January but there is literally no guarantee this will happen.”
Chief Executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, Adrian Cummins said it was a “devastating blow” to the hospitality industry.
He added: “The majority of hospitality businesses rely on income from the Christmas period to see them through the quieter first two months of the year.
“The loss of income over Christmas is about more than just the festive season, it is about surviving the winter months.
“It is imperative that financial supports are put in place immediately to offset the impact this will have for businesses and their employees and enable them to survive.
“As a sector and as a country we need better engagement on what the plan for living with this disease will be going forward.
“The current last minute reactionary approach is not working, we stand as always, ready able and willing to engage with Government on a plan for the survival and reopening of hospitality.”
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