Give 'wet pubs' a reopening date or financial support - Hospitality Ulster

Many bars have been able to resume serving since Friday, but Hospitality Ulster has said 'wet pubs' need a date to allow customers indoors. Picture by Mal McCann.
Ryan McAleer

PUBS which don’t serve food must be given a date for reopening or financial assistance, Hospitality Ulster has said.

The drinks lobby group expressed “deep frustration” last night, after the Executive emerged from Monday's meeting without a date for so called ‘wet pubs’.

Despite approving a one-metre social distancing policy and allowing restaurants and hotels to reopen, Stormont has said only pubs serving food can currently allow customers indoors.

So called ‘wet pubs’, which don’t serve food, can serve drinks in beer gardens.

But Hospitality Ulster says many small pubs don't have that luxury.

Bars in England have fully reopened, while publicans in the Republic and Wales have been given timelines.

Colin Neill of Hospitality Ulster said the north must follow suit.

“Our wet only pubs needed a date for reopening last week and it is hugely frustrating that another Executive meeting has passed without clarity on this issue. We are calling on Ministers to provide a reopening date or financial assistance now," he said.

“Without this, businesses will go under, resulting in thousands of staff having to be made redundant. Nobody wants this to be the case, but without urgent action it will simply be unavoidable.

"Our local communities rely on them to keep the heart of the community beating. Yet, these businesses feel let down and left behind as others embark on their recovery plans," added Mr Neill.

“After weeks of false hope, our Executive must now show confidence in our pubs by providing a much needed reopening date. If this is not possible, then they must provide immediate financial support to sustain them in the difficult days and weeks ahead.”

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