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call to action Publicans urge Government to allow outdoor service as grim 400-day milestone reached

Traditional pubs in Dublin have experienced the most severe hospitality lockdown in Europe as today marks 400 consecutive days of closure.

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LVA. Dublin's traditional pubs will mark 400 consecutive days of closure on Tuesday 20th April 2021, with the Republic of Ireland having undergone the most severe hospitality lockdown in Europe. Pictured at a photocall to mark the 400 days outside Leinster House were Donall O'Keeffe, Chief Executive of the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) and Noel Anderson, LVA Chairman and Managing Director of The Bridge 1859 and Lemon & Duke.

LVA. Dublin's traditional pubs will mark 400 consecutive days of closure on Tuesday 20th April 2021, with the Republic of Ireland having undergone the most severe hospitality lockdown in Europe. Pictured at a photocall to mark the 400 days outside Leinster House were Donall O'Keeffe, Chief Executive of the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) and Noel Anderson, LVA Chairman and Managing Director of The Bridge 1859 and Lemon & Duke.

LVA. Dublin's traditional pubs will mark 400 consecutive days of closure on Tuesday 20th April 2021, with the Republic of Ireland having undergone the most severe hospitality lockdown in Europe. Pictured at a photocall to mark the 400 days outside Leinster House were Donall O'Keeffe, Chief Executive of the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) and Noel Anderson, LVA Chairman and Managing Director of The Bridge 1859 and Lemon & Duke.

PUBLICANS are calling for the "unjust segmentation" of the hospitality sector to end as they urge the Government to allow outdoor service to resume for all businesses on May 24.

Traditional pubs in Dublin have experienced the most severe hospitality lockdown in Europe as today marks 400 consecutive days of closure.

The Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) has launched a call to action, encouraging Dublin publicans to contact their local politicians to ask that all pubs - traditional and gastro - be allowed to re-open next month.

Bars that serve drinks only have been hardest hit by the pandemic and make up one-third of all pubs in the capital.

After pubs in England resumed outdoor service on April 12 and venues in Northern Ireland were given the green light to open for indoor dining and drinking from May 24, pressure is mounting on the Government here to act.

LVA chief executive Donall O'Keeffe described today as an "unfortunate milestone" for Dublin publicans and warned thousands of people will travel across the border for a drink unless the disparity between north and south is addressed.

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Chief executive of the Licensed Vintners Association Donall O’Keeffe (Julien Behal/PA Wire)

Chief executive of the Licensed Vintners Association Donall O’Keeffe (Julien Behal/PA Wire)

Chief executive of the Licensed Vintners Association Donall O’Keeffe (Julien Behal/PA Wire)

"Traditional pubs across the country have had it harder than other forms of hospitality and the traditional pubs in Dublin were even more marginalised as they haven't opened their doors for the last 400 days and counting," Mr O'Keeffe said.

"We believe this unjust segmentation has to stop.

"Our members should press for the re-opening of the hospitality sector to begin with outdoor service for traditional pubs, gastropubs, restaurants and hotels from late May.

Vaccines

"This matches up with the timeframe outlined by the National Public Health Emergency Team [Nphet] for social contact to remain unchanged and also for the further roll-out of vaccines.

"Our members should also highlight that the risk profile is the same for indoor hospitality service in all venues - traditional pubs, gastropubs, restaurants and hotels.

"With hotels expected to re-open in June, all forms of hospitality should be allowed to resume indoor service from that point, especially with the roll-out of the vaccine due to have reached 80pc of the adult population that month."

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Mr O'Keeffe said there was "no justifiable reason" for any section of hospitality to be favoured. "This tiered treatment needs to end," he said.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed a major stimulus package for 180,000 people working in hotels, pubs and restaurants would soon be unveiled to help businesses recover once pandemic restrictions are lifted.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar also indicated he is "increasingly confident" that both indoor and outdoor dining will re-open during the summer.

He said "it is increasingly evident that outdoor dining is much safer than indoor" and he hopes the country will get to the point where both will be possible.

"We would expect to be in a position at the end of April to give an indication as to how hospitality might re-open across the course of June or July," he said.

Meanwhile, regulations have also been drafted to temporarily remove annual fees charging restaurants €125 per table for street dining.

The Outdoor Dining Enhancement Scheme will provide funding to help businesses upgrade their facilities when they re-open.

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