IRISH DRINKS giant Guinness have announced a €14 million support package for pubs across Ireland as they prepare to reopen for business.
Pubs, nightclubs and restaurants have been closed for over three months as lockdown measures implemented to slow the spread of coronavirus were introduced across Ireland and the world.
As the businesses prepare to reopen, thousands of pubs remain in a difficult position due to the detrimental financial effect of the three-month-long closures, as well as social distancing measures which will limit the number of customers and allow them to visit only up to two hours at a time.
The new support scheme, which is part of a two-year €88 million ( $100 million) global package by parent company Diageo, is titled Raising The Bar and will allow pubs and bars to receive financial support as they reopen.
Announcing the support package, Diageo chief Ivan Menezes called on governments around the world to help the sector survive.
"Pubs and bars sit at the heart of every community," he said.
"We are calling on governments around the world to provide long-term recovery packages to help hospitality.
"It plays an essential role in bringing people together to socialise and celebrate - something that we have all missed so much during this terrible crisis - and sustain hundreds of millions of jobs, often providing a first foot on the employment ladder for young people.”
Managing director of Diageo Ireland, Oliver Loomes, said the sector "requires long-term investment and support to get back up and running", according to The Irish Mirror.
"Not only has the financial impact to their business been significant, but they have missed their place at the centre of Ireland’s social fabric.
“Through this 14 million euro Raising The Bar Fund, our ambition is to support pubs in Ireland in welcoming back customers in the safest possible way, when they are ready to do so.
"It is more important than ever to work with our partners to create a safe and sustainable night time economy together.
"This fund is our commitment to the future of the local pub in Ireland."
Publicans across the UK and Ireland will be able to register for financial support via the Raising The Bar programme by visiting the My Diageo website here; for bar owners further afield, you can visit the global website here.