'NPHET's reckless approach will collapse pub sector' - VFI

'Nphet's Reckless Approach Will Collapse Pub Sector' - Vfi 'Nphet's Reckless Approach Will Collapse Pub Sector' - Vfi
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James Cox
The Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) has accused the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) of a "reckless approach" that they believe could "collapse the pub sector".

The VFI comments come ahead of the expected announcement of Dublin moving to Level Three of the Government's Living With Covid-19 plan.

Wet pubs in the capital will not be allowed to reopen on September 21st as pubs across 25 other counties open their doors for the first time since March.

However, the VFI has expressed concern that these closures will be introduced in other counties as well.

NPHET is recklessly disregarding the emotional wellbeing of the thousands of people who will lose their jobs as a result of this decision.

The group claims that pub closures are "misguided", pointing to outbreaks in private home settings. A statement read: "The most recent data relating to Covid-19 outbreaks ‘by setting’ reveals of the 3,036 cases just five are linked to pubs."

Padraig Cribben, VFI chief executive, said: “The logic for closing pubs is weak. It’s proven that house parties are the source of most infections so how will closing pubs help matters? Government don’t have the stomach to tackle the real issue here which is uncontrolled gatherings in private dwellings.


“NPHET is recklessly disregarding the emotional wellbeing of the thousands of people who will lose their jobs as a result of this decision.

“The only conclusion we can draw is that, knowing pubs are not the source of infection, some influential members of NPHET are using the pandemic to weaponise their bias against the hospitality sector and in particular venues that sell alcohol.

“The ‘Living with Covid’ roadmap has after three short days lost all credibility. For the sake of the nation’s sanity, the Government need to rip it up and start over."

In a separate statement, Drinks Industry Group of Ireland chair Liam Reid said: “We urge the government not to impose any further restrictions on restaurants and pubs serving food as these would have grave implications for the future viability of the drinks and hospitality industry.

“Irish bars and pubs have already endured the longest lockdown in the EU, and those in Dublin have no certainty or firm guidance on why any further restrictions would be imposed on them.

“While public health is, and must continue to be, the priority, it is important that any decisions are backed up by evidence – in the case of the proposed closure of all indoor spaces in bars and restaurants, and the ongoing closure of wet pubs. There is no evidence brought forward to suggest that this will work, and indeed governments and public health experts across Europe have avoided implementing such measures.

“If any further restrictions were to be implemented these would have considerable consequences and would exasperate the gravity of the crisis that the hospitality sector is already facing. Further business closures and limitations would mean thousands of jobs will be lost in an industry that is partially open and has taken every measure possible to ensure public health and safety is protected.

“There is mounting evidence that the long-term risk is enormous, and a specific package of support measures is urgently required, regardless of decisions taken today.”

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