Outdoor reopening important first step but only short-term solution says VFI

The announcement that pubs can reopen for outdoor trading from 7th June is an important and welcome first step but Government must now ensure indoor trading can resume as soon as possible, says the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI). The call for a resumption of indoor trading comes after it was confirmed hotels can open from early June.

The VFI is extremely pleased that last year’s ‘substantial meal’ provision is now abandoned and the artificial divide between pubs serving food and traditional venues no longer applies. All venues can now open together outdoors from 7th June.

VFI Chief Executive Padraig Cribben says: “After a tortuous year for the pub trade, it’s hugely positive that our members can reopen their doors for outdoor trading from 7th June. It’s an important first step to getting the trade fully reopen but can only be viewed as a short-term solution and we’re calling on Government to confirm a date to restart indoor trading as soon as possible.

“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. While it will be a momentous day for some, it’s important to recognise the majority of pubs do not have outdoor space so those publicans will be anxiously waiting for confirmation of an indoor reopening date.

“The consistent message from publicans is that once they reopen they must be allowed stay open. There can be no return to the periodic lockdowns of the past year. They devastated the trade and it will take years to mount a full recovery.

“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,” concludes Mr Cribben.