ALMOST 350 pubs have closed nationawide since the beginning of the pandemic, including 37 pub closures in Cork according to pub licence renewal stats.
According to the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) and Licenced Vintners’ Association (LVA) this signals the extent of the distress faced by pubs as restrictions continue to impact the sector.
The associations say the revelation of a 5% drop in pub licence renewals since January 2020 is a dramatic escalation in the crisis faced by pubs, coming just before Government will decide whether to remove all remaining Covid restrictions currently operated by the trade.
The figures, which were taken from an analysis of licence renewals published by the Revenue Commissioners, shows pubs have closed across the country, with Cork losing 37 pubs while Dublin has lost 33 public houses. Donegal lost the same number, 33, while Kerry has seen 22 pubs not renew their licences.
In light of these new figures, both the VFI and LVA say it’s critically important restrictions on trading are removed as planned this coming Friday 22 October.
Given that 90% of over 18s are now vaccinated the trade organisations say that retaining the vaccine pass system would allow Government the reopening of late-night hospitality, end mandatory table service, resume bar counter service and allow pubs to trade under normal opening hours.
On 22 October, nightclubs and late bars will have remained closed for 585 consecutive days since the outset of the pandemic.
Chief Executive of the VFI Padraig Cribben said:
Chief Executive of the LVA Donall O’Keeffe said: “Anticipation is high ahead of the lifting of 22 October for the simple reason that publicans are desperate to get back to normal trading. Many pubs and other hospitality businesses have been hanging on for this moment and any further delays will be a step too far for some. The Government needs to recognise delays will push more businesses over the edge where they will join the 349 pubs that have already been lost during the course of the pandemic.”