Now is the time for a clear and comprehensive hospitality plan which extends beyond opening indoor spaces with restrictions, the group of six has stated, in order to provide certainty for the hospitality sector and its suppliers in the medium term.
“Drinks manufacturers and suppliers put in weeks of preparation into every reopening, including brewing, line-cleaning and restocking and face significant costs and disruption every time it’s postponed at the last minute. ” said Diageo Ireland’s Managing Director Barry O’Sullivan, “Companies like Diageo have also delivered multi-million €uro investment programmes to help bars, pubs and restaurants create safe controlled indoor settings for socialising. The Government must now provide a clear, workable and fair pathway for indoor hospitality to reopen on 19th July,” he concluded.
Ireland is now the only country in the EU with no indoor hospitality despite the rate of vaccinations now being above 50%, pointed out Heineken Ireland’s Managing Director Maarten Schuurman who added that, “As a business that operates around the world the drinks sector here, along with Heineken Ireland, has significant international expertise and experience on how other countries have successfully reopened indoor hospitality in a safe and sustained way.
“We welcome the resumption of industry and Government talks on Thursday and urge swift clarity on reopening.”
Ryan McFarland, Molson Coors Beverage Company’s Western Europe Regional Business Director said, “The continued delays to reopening are hugely damaging to jobs and livelihoods right across the sector. While the opening of outdoor spaces provided some relief, many businesses were banking on the July 5th reopening of indoor hospitality only to be disappointed once again. The sector and its suppliers now need urgent clarity.”
In addition to getting clarity on the reopening of indoor hospitality, the development of a clear and comprehensive plan for this sector, which extends beyond opening indoor spaces with restrictions, is required, believes Claire Tolan, Managing Director of Irish Distillers.
“While indoor hospitality should be opened safely in the short-term we need a roadmap back to a hospitality experience with fewer and then, in time, no restrictions,” she stated, “This includes the reopening of other spaces like music venues. This is essential for the wider recovery of the sector.”
Pat Rigney Founder and Managing Director of The Shed Distillery, Drumshanbo, explained, “For smaller rural producers the pub is a vital space for consumers to try our brands, sometimes for the first time, with the help of experienced wait staff.
“The closure of indoor venues impacts the staff in those businesses, but also the wider business ecosystem including small indigenous Irish food and drinks producers who rely on the Irish pub to validate their brands for introduction to international markets.”
The continuous changing of reopening dates, always at extremely short notice, is having a very detrimental effect on business agreed Edward Dillon & Co’s Chief Executive Andy O’Hara.
“Many of the issues, uncertainties and increased costs are quite hidden – such as supply chain issues, staff deployment, marketing investment levels and so on,” he said, “Certainty is now required to plan effectively to mitigate against the severe difficulties facing business in these challenging times.”