One in three Irish pub 'may close for good' if Covid-19 restrictions continue
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One in three Irish pub 'may close for good' if Covid-19 restrictions continue

A THIRD of pubs in Ireland are at risk of closing their doors for good if industry restrictions due to Covid-19 remain in place.

According to research from the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI), one in three pubs believe there's a "moderate chance" their business will close permanently in the coming months if nothing changes.

DIGI surveyed over 1,000 businesses in Ireland to decipher how well they'd been coping during lockdown.

Pubs around the country are still covering staff wages, rent and maintenance costs during lockdown, and in some cases, financial support from the Government covers less than 20% of their monthly bills.

Research shows that nearly one in five pubs have weekly bills of over €2,000, without even pulling a single pint.

The hospitality industry has taken a massive hit ever since the outbreak of coronavirus in Ireland. All pubs shut in March, and only those able to serve substantial meals were allowed to reopen in late June. The remaining 'wet' pubs were kept shut until September - going over six months without a single customer.

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Even when open, social distancing rules, curfews and capacity limits have meant that life pre-Covid-19 is still a distant memory for pubs and bars nationwide.

Four in 10 pubs that have been allowed to reopen under new report a decline of more than half in their trade compared with a year ago. The same number say their profits are down more than 60% on the same period last year, according DIGI research.

Unsurprisingly, 67% of publicans say their mental health has suffered as a result of trying to keep their business afloat since lockdown.

DIGI chairman Liam Reid said the impact of the pandemic had been "severe".

"With further restrictions an inevitability, coupled with a lack of a coherent strategy or any certainty, the sector requires a direct response and targeted support measures," he said.

"Our survey of publicans shows plainly that there have been very serious financial implications for those publicans who have fought to protect their business throughout the pandemic. This has led to massive personal strain.

"Now is the time for the Government to act. They simply cannot delay any longer. Ireland's drinks and hospitality industry has suffered through the longest lockdown in the EU."