Hospitality industry calls for increased supports as Cabinet agrees to reinstate curfew

ireland
Hospitality Industry Calls For Increased Supports As Cabinet Agrees To Reinstate Curfew Hospitality Industry Calls For Increased Supports As Cabinet Agrees To Reinstate Curfew
The Cabinet is understood to have agreed on a midnight closing time for pubs and restaurants. Photo: PA Images
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Vivienne Clarke

Representatives from the hospitality and nightlife sectors are calling for greater Government supports if plans to reintroduce restrictions go ahead.

Cabinet met earlier on Tuesday to discuss potential measures to curb the spread of Covid-19. It is understood a curfew of 12am will be imposed on pubs and restaurants less than a month after the previous 11.30pm closing time was lifted.

The subsidisation of antigen tests and the further use of Covid certificates were also discussed at the meeting.

Following the news, the owner of a Dublin nightclub has called for more supports for the sector “if the rug is going to be pulled from under us”.

Ian Redmond of the Tramline venue told RTÉ Radio’s News at One that 20,000 patrons had passed through their doors in recent weeks with no cases of Covid reported as a result.

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The public had not expressed any concern to him, Mr Redmond said, but his 55 staff would now be wondering if they will have work next week.

'Unfair'

“We’re a little bit shocked,” he said of plans to close bars and venues at midnight. To expect nightclubs to close at midnight was “a little bit unfair,” he said.

All their customers had presented Covid certs and photo ID when they attended events, said Mr Redmond. Of the 900 patrons every night there had been only three who did not have a cert and had been turned away.

“We did everything that was asked of us. If they’re going to close us, then please support us.”

Mr Redmond said they had full houses booked for the next few nights: “Do we cancel or can we convince people to go out from 7pm to midnight?”

There needed to be common sense and “there has to be joined up thinking,” he added.

The supports for the hospitality sector during the pandemic had been great, but more would be needed “if we want to keep the lights on,” Mr Redmond said, adding that staff in the sector needed certainty.

His calls were echoed by vintners groups, including the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA), which said supports should be reintroduced "immediately".

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"We were told that if we waited until the majority of the public was vaccinated we would be able to get back to trading. Well we waited and that wasn’t enough,” LVA chief executive Donall O’Keeffe said.

"Like the rest of the country, of course we are conscious of the worsening health situation, but this will still be really hard news for those working in the sector to take.

"Late night hospitality was closed for 585 consecutive days, got to open for 27 days and now they face another indefinite period of closure...We will have enormous difficulty retaining our staff after this latest decision," Mr O'Keeffe added.

The Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) also described the changes, expected to be confirmed by the Taoiseach on Tuesday evening, as a "hugely disappointing development".

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