Donegal decision highlights stark reality for pub sector – VFI

The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) says the decision to move Donegal to Level Three and effectively close all pubs in the county highlights the stark reality for the trade as it faces a period of prolonged uncertainty.

Padraig Cribben, VFI Chief Executive, says: “The decision to move Donegal to Level Three effectively closes all pubs in the county. Allowing pubs to remain open for outdoor trading limited to 15 people is only a Government fig leaf, the reality is that from Friday midnight pubs in the county have to close for a minimum of three weeks.

“Our members only reopened last Monday after six months closed, so this news will deal a severe blow to confidence in the pub sector. I know publicans will be asking if this is the future for the trade, temporary openings followed by closures as we fight the virus. There is also deep concern that more counties will follow Donegal and Dublin.

“The question needs to be asked if, instead of county lockdowns, local areas with a high rate of infection could be moved to Level Three. This would help mitigate the impact on publicans and other businesses whose confidence is rapidly evaporating.

“We are calling on Government to implement meaningful supports for the pubs affected. They need support not only for the coming weeks but also for the 11 weeks they were closed after the rest of the hospitality sector was allowed reopen in June.”