The VFI said the move to Level Three was "another devastating development for the pub sector in a year where it has borne the brunt of lockdown restrictions and closures". Many pubs had only reopened two weeks ago after closing on March 15th. It said there was now now an urgent need for the Government to announce immediate additional support for the pub trade "including a substantial increase in the Restart Grant, although the VFI is warning there cannot be a repeat of the situation in Donegal, which was moved to Level Three 10 days ago, where pubs are excluded from the 30% ‘top up’ grant because technically they remain open."
Mr Cribbens said: “While Government say these restrictions will remain in place for three weeks, we have learnt from bitter experience that reopening dates can move at the last minute. Our members face another prolonged bout of uncertainty at the worst possible time. Next week’s Budget is a crucial opportunity for Government to show its commitment to the pub sector by announcing a series of measures that will restore confidence to a battered trade.”