PUBS in Ireland are facing an extremely uncertain future after Health Minister Simon Harris' announcement over the weekend that lockdown measures could last up to 18-months.
It's understood that pubs may be unable to reopen and operate as before until a vaccine for Covid-19 is found.
And given that expectations for finding, approving and developing a vaccine en masse might take months or even over a year to sort, the future looks bleak for our public houses.
The Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) have warned that many pubs face being put out of business permanently if the projections of a lengthy wait are accurate.
It's understood that the hospitality sector has been left "petrified" after Harris' comments that he couldn't see how a return to "packed pubs" would be possible in the absence of a vaccine.
LVA chief executive Donall O'Keefe said the projections were "the absolute nightmare scenario," adding that "if that [lengthy closures] happens then most pubs in this country will be out of business for good."
He went on to say that if closing pubs was deemed necessary by the government, then it is "essential that a pub-specific support scheme is introduced, otherwise there won't be a pub industry in this country by the time a vaccine is found."
The LVA welcomed the strong government support for the 50,000 staff members laid off as a result of the coronavirus crisis," added O'Keefe.
"This will have to be extended for the duration of the pub closure period," he stressed.
"However, unless it is supplemented with a specific support scheme to keep pubs themselves afloat, the staff will have no jobs to return to."