The Chairman of Cork Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) has called for a re-opening roadmap following the recent announcement that Ireland is on track to easing restrictions.
Yesterday, Tanaiste Leo Varadkar said more outdoor activities, a phased return of retail and the return of personal services such as hairdressers have been earmarked for the next easing of restrictions, which will begin on May 4.
He said he is “increasingly confident” that both indoor and outdoor dining will also return over the summer.
Speaking to the Echo, Michael O’Donovan welcomed the news that retail and personal services are being looked at to return next month, but said that he would like to see a roadmap for the hospitality sector.
“Obviously, for us in hospitality and in the pub trade, we would love to see specifics on what has to be done for us to go back."
Mr O’Donovan reiterated calls for all of those in the hospitality sector to open together saying: “that has been our mantra for the last number of weeks, and we’ve seen it across the UK- there is no food requirement, and all pubs and restaurants are open together,” he added.
Mr O’Donovan, who owns the Castle Inn, noted the importance of remaining open for good, stating that another closure would create “financial heartbreak” as well as “huge” stress.
"We just need to see a plan for the next number of weeks to let us know what's happening because we have to engage staff, we have to engage suppliers. We can't just walk in the door, turn on the lights and open the front door and we're ready to go. We need a plan," he added.
It comes as the VFI call on the government to immediately publish its plan to reopen the hospitality sector.
Padraig Cribben, VFI Chief Executive said: “Pubs in the North know they will reopen indoors on 24 May which introduces a welcome degree of certainty and stability to the trade.
“That’s exactly the sort of approach we need here as publicans continue to feel abandoned by government.”
Mr Cribben said that if the delay in publishing a reopening plan continues any longer, they are calling on Government to double the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) payment to publicans.
“As we approach the ‘make or break’ summer season, the Government must either provide confidence to the trade through a sustainable reopening plan or else increase supports.”