Hospitality Ulster seeks rescue package for Northern Ireland's wet-led pubs

By Joe Lutrario contact

- Last updated on GMT

Hospitality Ulster calls for rescue package for wet-led pubs

Related tags: Pubs, Northern ireland, Coronavirus, Hospitality Ulster, Colin Neill

Trade body Hospitality Ulster is calling on the the Northern Ireland Executive to create a rescue package for wet-led pubs, which have been told they can’t open until 1 September at the earliest.

Hotels, restaurants, and pubs serving food have been operating in Northern Ireland since 3 July but non-food pubs remain closed.

Hospitality Ulster are warning of mass redundancies and business closures if no extra support is given.

The organisation says the Northern Ireland Executive has a responsibility to step in having ‘kicked the opening date down the road’.

Hospitality Ulster has suggested the introduction of additional safety measures, including the implementation of a specific Track and Trace system in pubs and has called for the power of closure for any establishments which flout safety guidance.

“It is devastating news that the reopening of traditional non-food pubs has been pushed back, despite the rest of the hospitality sector reopening safely, albeit at reduced capacity,” says Hospitality Ulster chief executive Colin Neill.

“The safety measures agreed by government and implemented by our members will help to reduce the spread of the virus, not the pie and chips you are currently required to have with your pint. Non-food pubs can operate under the same safety measures as food-let premises.”

“If the Executive are concerned about compliance, they should, as we have repeatedly suggested, take the powers to close anyone that blatantly ignores the guidance - not keep everyone closed, just in case. Some people speed, but we don’t stop everyone else from driving.”

Earlier this month a survey found that more than a third of British pubs cannot break even one month after reopening.

In total 37% of British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) members said they remain unable to break even; while 25% of brewing and pub sector businesses said they didn’t feel their business was sustainable beyond the end of March 2021 at present.

The findings, which came exactly one month after pubs in England were able to reopen following the Coronavirus lockdown, further underline the severity of the
situation faced by Britain’s pub sector.

In response, the BBPA has called on Government for continued sector support in the medium and long-term to enable a full recovery

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