Publicans have welcomed the announcement that pubs can open for outdoor trading from 7th June, calling it ‘an important and welcome first step’.

However, the the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) has also cautioned that it is a short term solution, and that the Government must now ensure taht indoor trading can resume as soon as possible.

The call for a resumption of indoor trading comes after it was confirmed hotels can open from early June.

In an address to the nation on Thursday 29th April, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the Government was in a position to ease restrictions now because of the public’s adherence to the lockdown over the last several months.

“As disruptive as lonely as frustrating as the last year has been we are getting through it and a degree of normality is returning,” Taoiseach Martin said.

There are a nmber of key dates over the coming months. On 10th May, intercounty travel will be permitted, and hairdressers, barbers and salons will be permitted to reopen by appointment. Click and collect shopping may also resume on that date.

On 17th May, non-essential retail will be allowed to reopen again.

On 2nd June, hotels and B&Bs will be allowed reopen. On 7th June, pubs and restaurants will be allowed to reopen for outdoor dining. There has been no date set for the reopening of indoor dining and it is not expected to be allowed until July at the earliest.

There has been widespread support for the Government’s decision to remove last year’s ‘substantial meal’ requirement for serving alcohol, removing the divide between bars serving food and traditional pubs. All venues can now open together outdoors from 7th June.

VFI Chief Executive Padraig Cribben said: “The fact hotels can reopen indoors from early June demonstrates that it’s safe to resume hospitality, with appropriate social distancing, in such venues. It would be wholly unfair to allow hotels trade indoors but prohibit pubs and restaurants from doing so.

“Reopening outdoor trading from the June Bank Holiday Monday will instil some badly needed confidence into the pub sector.

“It’s vital that supports in the guise of a revamped Restart Grant Plus and the continuation of the EWSS and CRSS payments are announced immediately. The 7th June reopening will be a big day for the trade but there remains some distance to travel before the pub trade is back on its feet,” said Mr Cribben.

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