The revelation that there has been an overall 5% drop in pub licence renewals has dramatically escalated the crisis faced by pubs and comes just before Government decides whether to remove all remaining Covid restrictions currently operated by the trade, according to the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland and Licenced Vintners’ Association
The figures, taken from an analysis of licence renewals published by the Revenue Commissioners, shows that pubs have closed across the country, with Cork losing 37 pubs while Dublin and Donegal lost 33 each. Kerry has seen 22 pubs not renew their licences to date.
In light of these new figures, both the VFI and LVA say it’s now critically important that the Government remove restrictions on trading as planned this coming Friday the 22nd of 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.
“These new figures reveal Covid’s dramatic impact on the trade over the past 19 months,” says VFI Chief Executive Padraig Cribben, “To lose 5% of pubs in such a short timeframe is unprecedented and underlines how the pub trade bore the brunt of pandemic restrictions.
“In light of recent speculation about delaying the ending of restrictions, the news that pubs are closing across the country will only heighten anxiety in the trade. Uncertainty is a key factor in why so many pubs have closed, so Government must put an end to the crisis by announcing that the easing of restrictions will proceed as planned.”
LVA Chief Executive Donall O’Keeffe, adds, “Losing 349 pubs across the country indicates the magnitude of what’s happened to the pub trade since March 2020. These pubs closed even with the Government supports in place.
“If access is limited to those who’ve been vaccinated there’s no justification for not proceeding with the easing of the rest of the restrictions. With more than 90% of the adult population vaccinated and vaccine passes likely to remain in place, if we can’t allow hospitality to trade relatively normally now then when will we ever be able to?
“Anticipation is high ahead of the lifting of 22nd 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,” he concluded.
Seven Day Pub Licence renewals by county: Jan 2020 v September 2021