The LVA has also said it now views the Government’s new Resilience and Recovery 2020 – 2021 plan as null and void.
This decision came on the same day that NPHET’s Professor Philip Nolan admitted that that body has no data to show from where in Ireland the infections are originating.
“It is quite clear now that the Government has little say in how this country is being run and we’re now being ruled by NPHET,” said LVA Chief Executive Donall O’Keeffe, “Welcome to NPHET-land.
“They are closing down swathes of businesses in Dublin, pushing thousands of people out of work and yet NPHET admits they don’t have any data to show where the infections are arising in Ireland. Despite that lack of data the Government has empowered them to inflict whatever guidelines they want without challenge.
“Thanks to the actions taken by NPHET and Government we have a six-month plan which is already null and void. No one can take that document seriously when they have Dublin at Level 3, pubs that serve food and restaurants at Level 4 and non-food pubs at Level 5. They took weeks to put that document together but they undid it in a matter of three days.
“Let’s remember pubs that serve food and restaurants have been open for several months without a spike in infections, having reopened on 29th June. But still NPHET has imposed the most severe, draconian and punishing restrictions on the hospitality sector in all of Europe.
“The pubs of Dublin widely accepted and backed the approach being taken by NPHET and Government at the beginning of this crisis. The approach being taken is shattering that support among the pubs of Dublin. It is quite clear that NPHET are not in this together with the pubs of Ireland and the Government are standing by and allowing them to sacrifice our sector,” he concluded.
Pubs being treated as political scapegoats
Drinks Ireland too, says that the decision by Cabinet to essentially close Dublin’s hospitality sector is:
- Ineffective– the major increase in Covid cases is not linked to the hospitality sector, pubs are regulated environments
- Disproportionate– out of step with the rest of the EU and the country
- Unfair– the hospitality sector is already on its knees, pubs that do not serve food haven’t even been given the chance to reopen.
This decision will be hugely damaging to the economy both in the city and the country and will be the final blow for many businesses already struggling to stay afloat according to the body representing Ireland’s drinks suppliers.
It says that the decision puts Dublin completely out of step with the rest of the country and also countries across the EU where the hospitality sector has reopened albeit with restrictions. Across many of these countries there have been targeted interventions to manage an increase in cases rather than moves to shut down an entire industry.
Drinks Ireland points out that pubs and the wider hospitality sector are regulated environments that have and would continue to play their part in preventing the spread of Covid-19. The recent increase in Covid-19 cases in Ireland has not been linked to the sector. And Dublin’s wet pubs haven’t even been given the chance to reopen.
According to Drinks Ireland, the decision also poses a major threat to drinks suppliers. As a whole, Ireland’s hospitality industry purchases approximately €1 billion from domestic food and drink suppliers every year.
“The hospitality sector should have been allowed to stay open in Dublin, or in the case of wet pubs reopen in a safe and sustainable manner,” started Drinks Ireland Director Patricia Callan, “The Government must stop unfairly targeting an entire industry that is already on its knees, treating the sector as a political scapegoat.
“This closure impacts not only pubs, but also drinks suppliers.
“For the pubs that serve food that are going to close, it will mean a huge amount of product will no longer be used and will have to be collected, which is a very costly process.
“Across Europe, the hospitality sector has reopened with restrictions, including in countries with a higher Covid-19 incidence rate. We see that these countries are managing hotspots with targeted measures that do not mean a total closure of a vital sector and economic diver.”
“In Marseille in France, bars and restaurants must close at 12.30am. In the Czech Republic they must close at midnight, while in Germany there are Social Distancing measures in place and restrictions on numbers that can sit together.
“We also see that countries are managing hotspots with targeted measures that do not mean a total closure of a vital sector and economic driver. On some Greek islands, which have seen an increase in cases recently, only four people can sit at a table at a time, for example, while in the highly impacted region of Andalusia in Spain there are limits on the numbers allowed indoors at bars and restaurants.”
List of EU countries where bars and cafés are open with restrictions
- Czech Republic