All food and alcohol serving hospitality businesses including pubs, restaurants, hotels and cafés should be treated the same when it comes to reopening, according to the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA).
The above assertion by the association was in response to reports that cafés and restaurants will be allowed to trade again in “early stage phase two” of the government’s reopening plan, with hotels reopening during the “middle phases” and pubs being kept closed until the plan’s “later phases”.
Pointing to research from Bord Bia that indicates that more food is consumed in pubs than in full service restaurants or cafés, the LVA said that it would be completely discriminatory to allow restaurants or cafés to serve food while pubs were forced to remain shut.
LVA chief executive Donall O’Keeffe asserted, “Pubs that serve food should be allowed to reopen at the same time as restaurants or cafés, with the same public health guidelines in place. To ask pubs to remain closed while their competitors down the street are trading would be a massive slap in the face for the entire pub sector. It would also greatly damage the future viability of the industry, putting more jobs at risk of being permanently lost and more premises going out of business for good.
“When it comes to foodservice, there is no reason why pubs can’t operate in the same manner as other types of establishments such as restaurants, hotels or cafés. Food serving pubs have dedicated kitchens, can provide table service and can implement the public health guidelines in the provision of food just as well as any other type of venue. The majority of our members hold restaurant certs and accordingly are licensed restaurants. So we would fully expect them to be allowed to reopen.
“There can’t be a sense that there is one rule for restaurants and another rule for pubs serving food. We would question the thinking behind such provisions and we know it is something that will be fiercely resisted by the entire pub sector in this country. It is the logical first step in reopening the pub trade and should be quickly followed, assuming it is safe to do so, by all pubs being allowed to trade, following the same social distancing guidelines. It is also essential the government provides a clear road map to normalising the economy for all our sakes.”
View the full article on the Hospitality Ireland website.
Photo by Gonzalo Remy on Unsplash
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