NPHET is concerned over the rising incidence of infections from social gatherings etc taking place, mostly in Dublin and has advised that the re-opening of wet pubs there should be postponed.
It has also advised that live music in pubs should be banned and that TV volumes should be kept low to discourage people from raising their voices and thus increasing the spread of Covid-19.
According to the LVA, “Last Tuesday, when the Government announced that non-food pubs would re-open on the 21st of September, the Government also confirmed that if there were any regional restrictions these would apply to other businesses and not solely pubs. Yet despite the Government commitment, two days later NPHET called for the continued closure of non-food pubs in Dublin”.
Cabinet is expected to make a final decision on this issue tomorrow but contradictory messaging from Government and NPHET is adding enormously to the uncertainty and stress in publicans, staff, suppliers and all the families involved, states the LVA.
“Non-food pubs have played no role in the current infection levels in Dublin, having been shut by order of the Government for more than six months,” argues the Association, “Any further delay in re-opening would mean that the Government is pushing many of these pubs into mortgage default, with the moratorium on mortgages provided by the banks set to finish at the end of September.”
A further delay would represent the fourth re-opening delay for non-food pubs in Dublin and it “would completely destroy any trust publicans have in the Government’s management of this crisis,” pointed out LVA Chief Executive Donall O’Keeffe, “It would fly in the face of the commitments made by Government last week, shatter the value of that Cabinet announcement and would raise the question as to what basis the Government is making its decisions.
“This is a bizarre recommendation to have been made by NPHET,” he continued, “Rather than seeking to tackle the actual problems that have led to the rise in infections in Dublin, NPHET is trying to use this as a means of keeping the pubs closed for longer. There is zero rationale behind that advice.
“NPHET has repeatedly singled out pubs for draconian treatment and has continued to obsess about pubs rather than those elements of Irish society where the real problems lie such as meat factories, direct provision or household gatherings,” he concluded.