PUBLICANS are calling for indoor trading to resume no later than Thursday, July 1.
The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) says that after "sacrificing their businesses for over 15 months, now is the time for government to confirm to its members that pubs can fully reopen by the first week in July in time for the traditional start of the summer tourist season".
While the VFI welcomes the reopening of pubs for outdoor trading on June 7, "for the vast majority of its members running an outdoor-only business is not sustainable so clarity on when publicans can resume indoor trading is required this week".
In a statement issued this Sunday, Padraig Cribben, VFI chief executive, said: "Every day counts for our members and they need to hear from government this week that indoor trading can resume no later than Thursday, July 1".
After "an horrendous 15 months", it’s great to see the country reopen and publicans along with their staff are certainly looking forward to being part of that process, he said.
"The successful vaccination programme sends a strong signal that life is returning to something approaching normal.
"This week pubs in the North will reopen indoors, three weeks after outdoor trading started there. We have said all along that pubs in the Republic should follow the same timeline, which would see our members reopen indoors by July 1.
"We can’t have a two-tier pub sector on the island for longer than a couple of weeks as already people are crossing the border to socialise. As we remain on course to have the vast majority of the population receive their first vaccination by the end of June, it follows that a full reopening of pubs should then be permitted.
"When our pubs do reopen they must follow strict social distancing guidelines and we are asking Government to get those guidelines published immediately so our members can begin preparations," said Mr Cribben.
He said their members are looking forward to reopening for outdoor trading on June 7 but that is only the "first step".
"The government must bring finality to what has been a catastrophic period for the trade by announcing pubs can fully reopen no later than July 1,” concluded Mr Cribben.
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