‘Crucial’ indoor trading permitted to resume no later than July 1, says Cork publican

‘Crucial’ indoor trading permitted to resume no later than July 1, says Cork publican

Chairman of the Cork branch of the VFI and owner of the Castle Inn in Cork city centre, Michael O’Donovan. The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) says that after sacrificing their businesses for over 15 months, now is the time for Government to confirm to its members that pubs can fully reopen by the first week in July in time for the traditional start of the summer tourist season. Picture Clare keogh

A Cork publican has said it is crucial that the Government permits indoor trading to resume no later than July 1 in order for businesses to have a "meaningful" summer of trading.

The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) says that after sacrificing their businesses for over 15 months, now is the time for Government to confirm to its members that pubs can fully reopen by the first week in July in time for the traditional start of the summer tourist season.

Speaking to The Echo, chairman of the Cork branch of the VFI and owner of the Castle Inn in Cork city centre, Michael O’Donovan, said that while the reopening of pubs for outdoor trading on June 7 is a “welcome first step” the most important element for the industry will be the resumption of indoor trading.

“Indoor trading is crucial for publicans really looking forward to the summer, especially those in tourist areas that depend on the eight weeks, July into August, of trading.

“Every day counts for them to build up a little bit of a cash reserve to get through the winter,” he said.

From tomorrow, pubs in Northern Ireland can reopen indoors, three weeks after outdoor trading recommenced.

The VFI is calling for this timeline to be emulated in the Republic, which would see a resumption of indoor trading on July 1.

“The Government, to be fair to them, have been saying all along that with the vaccine rollout we would get to about 82% of the population first dose vaccinated by the end of June and it looks like we’re on course for that so that’s why we’re asking for the public to be rewarded, for there to be some bit of light at the end of the tunnel for getting to that position,” Mr O’Donovan said.

“I note the Tánaiste has said indoor trading will resume in July, but we’re asking for it to be no later than July 1 to give those businesses the opportunity to trade and have a meaningful eight weeks, in particular, to get their businesses viable again.” 

Taoiseach Micheál Martin is expected to address the country on Friday to outline further easing of restrictions.

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