Delay to reopening of non-food pubs branded ‘catastrophic’
Colin Neill, chief executive, Hospitality Ulster.
Reacting to the news that traditional non-food serving pubs will not be allowed to reopen on September 1 as indicated previously, Colin Neill, chief executive, Hospitality Ulster said:
“This is catastrophic news for hard-working publicans right across Northern Ireland who made the ultimate sacrifice in closing their premises six months ago for the greater good. These individuals and families have endured two months of additional closure without any financial support. In so doing, they have already demonstrated a high level of responsibility at considerable personal and financial cost.
“The Northern Ireland Executive must now come forward with immediate financial assistance. Without this, thousands of jobs will be lost along with a vital part of the hospitality sector here. It will be unforgivable if this is need is not met.
“These hard-working publicans are paying the price with no income and a stack of bills running into the thousands of pounds each week. This is just not sustainable. We understand that the Executive didn’t even meet today (August 26) and it is simply an insult that, at the very least, a meeting was called to discuss the impact of this decision on thousands of staff and their families. They haven’t even been given another suggested indicative date, removing any hope they may still have.
“We understand the risk posed by this virus but we have not been presented with any definitive evidence to suggest traditional non-food pubs are any higher risk. Indeed, experience in the rest of the UK would suggest otherwise. We are now calling on the Executive to take another look at this and find a workable and practical solution to resolve this major problem.
“As employers, employees and their families face the reality of further uncertainty and likely job losses, it is over the NI Executive to ensure that these people can put food on their tables.”