Publicans demand “equality for all” ahead of Roadmap launch

The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) says the entire hospitality sector should be treated equally in the ‘Living with Covid’ Roadmap which is due to be published Tuesday. Publicans, say the VFI, are anxious to avoid a situation where pubs are treated differently to restaurants, cafes, hotel bars and pubs serving food when decisions are being taken about future restrictions.

Padraig Cribben, VFI Chief Executive, states: “While we await full details of the ‘Living with Covid’ Roadmap it’s clear the Government will introduce a new five-level system to indicate what public health measures and restrictions are in place in different areas of the country at any specific time. We are adamant that all pubs, hotel bars, restaurants and cafes must be within the same band or level as we cannot have a situation where, for instance, non-food pubs are forced to close because they are in level three while all other outlets can remain open because they are placed in level four.

“Such a scenario would create a two-tier hospitality sector that would be incredibly unfair on our members. The Government is on record that all pubs can reopen on 21st September

subject to local restrictions. We accept that in certain instances tighter restrictions may be introduced on a temporary basis but Government must not differentiate between hospitality outlets.

“Last week’s Government announcement about reopening pubs clearly signalled the end of the division created on 29th June when restaurants and pubs serving food were permitted to open while keeping all other pubs shut. The Government must not row back on that commitment as it could have devastating consequences for many of our members who are now closed for six months.

“All pubs must be allowed reopen with the confidence that any decision about future lockdowns will be made on a county or locality basis and not on whether the business does or does not serve food,” Mr Cribben concludes.

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