Pub reopening date set to be pushed back ... again

Pub reopening date set to be pushed back ... again

PUBS in Ireland might have to wait beyond September 21 to reopen with the date set to be revised, following recommendation by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET).

It will be the fourth time the reopening date has been pushed back, leaving publicans across the country fearing for their futures yet again.

A recent rise in Covid-19 case numbers has caused a ripple of concern among health chiefs, who are now advising that pubs remain closed to try and curb the spread.

There is a particular concern about Dublin, with 107 of the 196 confirmed cases yesterday coming from the capital, and even if the September 21 date is kept in place, it's unlikely that Dublin pubs will included in the plan.

Despite the health warnings, there are those in government who are arguing against the postponement, stressing that the hospitality industry could inch further towards collapse unless it's reopened, with thousands of jobs are at stake.

Ministers will meet at a full Cabinet meeting next Tuesday to discuss the decision, with an announcement set to come shortly after.

The Licensed Vintners' Association (LVA) stress that any extension to pub closures, particularly in Dublin, will mean some owners will default on their mortgages.

"It is clear to us [the government] has an anti-pub agenda. They have worked to keep pubs closed since we closed voluntarily last March," said LVA chief executive Donal O'Keefe.

"We think the time to reopen has come.

"By the end of 21st September, we will have been closed for 189 days and it has had a ferocious impact on businesses.

"We simply cannot taken another days' closure beyond that."

Earlier this month, the government announced that the reopening of pubs was one of its top priorities, now that schools have been reopened.

But as we've seen plenty of times during this pandemic, things change quickly, and it appears we'll likely be waiting a little while longer to get our pubs back.