A definitive date to open up indoor hospitality, as well as a clear and ambitious plan from Government in order to ensure the long-term sustainability of this opening, is now urgently required, believes Drinks Ireland.
The representative body for alcohol manufacturers and suppliers in Ireland has already highlighted the huge logistical operation that has taken place in recent weeks to get pubs ready for the July 5th date.
It takes five weeks to brew and deliver beer and an estimated 70,000 kegs of beer were produced.
The Government recommendation to use Covid Certificates for vaccinated people or people who have recovered from the infection is a last-minute moving of the goalposts and something that should have been planned months ago, if necessary, stated Drinks Ireland.
However it acknowledges the Health Ministers’ commitment to having this system up-and-running by the 19th of July and said that everything now needs to be done to get the necessary measures in place by then so the sector can reopen.
The Government decision continues the disruption to one of the worst-affected sectors in the economy.
“The default position to lock down or delay reopening of the hospitality sector, with very little notice, is no longer appropriate in the context of the vaccine roll-out and our position as a clear outlier in the EU,” said Drinks Ireland Director Patricia Callan, “In the immediate term, we need an opening date from Government that it sticks to, as well as clarity on the metrics to allow this to happen.
“The hospitality sector and wider drinks industry has done its part by putting in place stringent Covid safety measures, with massive upgrades and investments.
“To date, the sector has been told that ensuring a certain portion of population were vaccinated would be sufficient to open.
“We need a long-term plan for the sector beyond keeping it shut and providing supports,” she continued, “Relying on proof of vaccination or recovery alone is unfair.
“Other countries have moved to living with Covid and have rolled out antigen testing and other measures like ventilation to allow their sector to open and these must be considered also.”