The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) has said the Government decision to close pubs serving food along with restaurants on Christmas Eve brings closer the probability that pubs will remain shut past 15th March 2021, the one year anniversary of when the trade first closed.

The VFI said its members and their staff will require a comprehensive new package of supports if the trade is to survive until restrictions are lifted.

The Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) said that the decision to close the sector on 24th December means 25,000 Dublin pub workers have been laid off on Christmas Eve. They also warned that the “tug of war” around reopening will start again in earnest from the beginning of January 2021, unless the Government starts coming up with more sustainable solutions.

VFI Chief Executive Padraig Cribben said: “Many staff only returned to work because they were promised pubs serving food would remain open into January.

“Our members who were allowed reopen for under three weeks must now reapply for the CRSS but at this stage, with little prospect of a full reopening in the short-term, we are calling for the CRSS to be increased for all pubs to 30% of 2019 turnover. Government must understand its decisions are decimating our trade so the supports on offer have to recognise that fact.

“We need clear communications from Government about how our members will be allowed resume trading. The good news is vaccines will end the pandemic but how and when will that happen? There is zero clarity about what level of vaccine coverage we require before restrictions will be lifted.

“The overwhelming message we get from our members is ‘just tell us the plan for getting open’. They want information about the way forward. Right now, there is a total absence of clarity,” concluded Mr Cribben.

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