No guarantee remaining pubs will reopen in August, says Varadkar

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said he hopes pubs that do not serve food can reopen for business on August 10th, but there are no guarantees.

Pub lobby groups have called on the Government to release guidelines that will allow them to reopen safely, after their previous reopening date was delayed due to an increase in coronavirus cases earlier this month.

Mr Varadkar told the Dáil he could not guarantee that the Cabinet will allow pubs to reopen as it will depend on what the National Public Health Emergency Team advise.

“I would like to see pubs and bars open as well on August 10th.

“If it’s possible for them to do so within the public health guidelines, and I hope we’ll be able to make that decision in the affirmative next Tuesday, allowing them to open on August 10th, but I can’t guarantee that at this stage,” he said.

“I totally agree that pubs offer a huge amount of employment around the country, and also are really important to our social fabric, not just in rural areas, but in urban areas too,” he said.

Hospitality group Failte Ireland is expected to publish reopening guidelines for pubs in the coming days.

Mr Varadkar said he hopes NPHET’s advice will allow pubs to reopen but it will depend on the number of cases of Covid-19.

“I hope it’s a positive decision, but I can’t make that commitment right now,” he cautioned.

On Tuesday, the Vintners Federation of Ireland confirmed that 2,450 jobs have been permanently lost in Dublin due to closure of pubs because of the pandemic.

The VFI said that it is important to the future of businesses that the remaining pubs who don't serve food are allowed to reopen in August.