According to the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA), the Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Ronan Glynn made a commitment that the distinction between food and wet pubs would not apply when current lockdown of the hospitality sector ended.

During a conference call with a range of stakeholders on the 18th September when the lockdown of the hospitality sector in Dublin was announced, then Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ronan Glynn stated that pubs that serve food and non food pubs would reopen together when restrictions for pubs were lifted. This followed questioning from the LVA on the matter. The Department of the Taoiseach were also represented on that call.

The LVA is highlighting this commitment after media reports suggested the Government is considering measures that would see pubs that serve food reopen in December while non food pubs remain closed.

By the 1st December, Dublin pubs that do not serve food will be closed for 260 consecutive days or 71% of the year. This accounts for one third of the pubs in the capital. Non food pubs throughout the rest of the country, which represent approximately half country’s pubs, will have only been open for just over two weeks during the same period.

“The Government must stand by the commitment made by the Acting CMO to allow pubs that serve food and those that don’t to reopen together,” said LVA Chief Executive Donall O’Keeffe. “During the call that took place on the 18th September I specifically asked Dr. Glynn about this issue and he made a firm commitment that pubs that serve food and those that don’t would both be able to reopen together when reopening is permitted. If NPHET and the Government expect the continued buy in of the sector then they have to live up to such commitments.

“Pubs have taken a disproportionate hit during this crisis, with the non food pubs in Dublin being hit brutally hard. By the start of December they will have been kept shut for 260 consecutive days. They can’t be expected to take any more.

“If the Government and NPHET are to proceed with a strategy that provides nothing to work towards, then the continued acceptance of the lockdown can’t be guaranteed. Hope has to form part of the strategy. So far, hope for the hospitality sector in general and pubs in particular has been notably absent from the Government’s plans for December and beyond. That needs to be urgently addressed,” Mr. O’Keeffe concluded.

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