THE IRISH government has come in for strong criticism after failing to provide a roadmap for when pubs and other hospitality services can reopen.
While some of Ireland’s lockdown restrictions have been eased, pubs bars, cafes and restaurants remain in the dark as to what the next few months hold.
GAA, the construction industry, teaching, and outdoor sports and visitor attractions have begun to reopen as part of the plans announced by the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste.
However, pubs, restaurants and cafes remain under Level 5 lockdown restrictions, meaning they can only provide food and drink on a takeaway basis.
Wet pubs not serving food, meanwhile, remain closed with neither the Taoiseach nor the Tánaiste willing to offer up a date for when they can expect to reopen.
It’s a situation that has earned the government a strong rebuke from the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI), who have hit out at the lack of a coherent plan.
The VFI described the failure to provide a plan for the easing of restrictions was a “missed opportunity”.
While they acknowledged the need to keep public health as the primary concern, the hospitality sector needs more help to understand how things will progress when it comes to vaccine passports and other proposals.
Padraig Cribben, VFI Chief Executive, says, “the pub sector is not calling for a reopening date but we urgently require an understanding of how we get to reopen. Right now, our members exits in an information vacuum that is causing severe distress.
“Countries like Denmark and England have clear timelines for reopening different sectors of society. We need a plan that links the vaccine roll out to reopening. We’re heading into April with no clear idea about how the hospitality sector will get back on its feet.
“The announcement was a missed opportunity as far as the pub sector is concerned. It’s very worrying for our members who badly need some message of hope for the future” he added.