Sunday, October 24, 2021

New figures have laid bare the impact the pandemic has had on pubs.

Some 372 pubs had renewed their seven-day license as of January 2020 in Mayo, but that total dropped to 350 by September 2021 — a reduction of 22.

In Co Galway, the total number of pubs dropped from 472 to 456, while in Sligo, it fell by four from 140 to 136. In Co Roscommon, there are 16 fewer pubs since the onset of Covid, dropping from 198 to 182, while Co Leitrim lost five pubs, the total falling from 108 to 103.

The figures, which were taken from an analysis of licence renewals published by the Revenue Commissioners, show that pubs have closed across the country with Co Donegal losing 33 pubs while Co Kerry has seen 22 pubs not renew their licences. In total, 349 pubs (or 5% of all pubs) have closed in Ireland since the beginning of the pandemic, which vintners’ representatives say signals the extent of the distress faced by pubs as restrictions continue to impact the sector.

According to the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) and Licenced Vintners’ Association (LVA), the decline in pub licence renewals represents a dramatic escalation in the crisis faced by pubs, and comes in the same week that the Government will decide whether to remove all remaining Covid restrictions.

In light of these new figures, both the VFI and LVA say it is critically important that restrictions on trading are removed as planned this coming Friday.

The trade organisations say that retaining the vaccine pass system would allow the Government to reopen late-night hospitality, end mandatory table service, resume bar counter service and allow pubs to trade under normal opening hours.

By October 22, nightclubs and late bars will have been closed for 585 consecutive days since the onset of the pandemic.

LVA chief executive Donall O’Keeffe said: “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 have been vaccinated, there is no justification for not proceeding with the easing of the rest of the restrictions.

“If we can’t allow hospitality to trade relatively normally now, then when will we ever be able to?”

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