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Wet-led pubs may reopen in NI on September 21

Colin Neill, chief executive, Hospitality Ulster.

Traditional wet-led pubs may be allowed to reopen on September 21, the same date non-food pubs are due to resume trading in the Republic of Ireland, according to the Northern Ireland Executive.

“We welcome the decision by the NI Executive in providing the indicative date of 21st September to allow traditional non-food pubs to reopen,” said Colin Neill, chief executive, Hospitality Ulster. “This is such a vital step forward and, if stuck to, will be a lifeline for those who have had to shut for the past six months without any income.

“Securing an indicative date will provide hope that has been sadly missing of late and will help secure hundreds of businesses and thousands of jobs that have been hanging in the balance.

“We have provided assurances and offered suggestions on enforceable measures for the protection of public health and staff in the sector, for both those already open, and the reopening of the traditional non-food serving pubs.

“We can see from the reopening of other parts of the sector since the start of July that the vast majority of the hospitality industry is taking this very seriously. They want to be open, trading and welcoming back customers, not being over reliant on government.

“We have to also remember that we have been given an indicative timeframe previously and we must encourage the Executive to hold steady in getting us to the new date less than two weeks away. Any further delay, without a critical financial aid package, will be catastrophic.

“We also must acknowledge that other parts of the hospitality sector still need assistance such as music and event venues and outdoor event spaces. They themselves support a whole host of performers in the arts and cultural sector for example and it is just as important that we get these places back on their feet again.”

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