Ireland: two-thirds of irish pubs may not survive to Covid-19

Nearly 1,000 establishments could close permanently between now and Christmas.

A deserted irish pub - Photo by Dovlet Hojayev on Unsplash
A deserted irish pub - Photo by Dovlet Hojayev on Unsplash

It’s a terrifying figure: nearly two-thirds of Irish pubs may not make it through the disastrous impact of Covid-19. Strangled by the inactivity and restrictions imposed by the government, nearly 60% of them could be forced to close their doors for good by Christmas. A real danger, especially considering the importance of the pub in Ireland, the lung of Irish society.

The VFI condemns the Irish government’s policy.

Nearly 1000 pubs are threatened with closure in Ireland

The Vintner Federation of Ireland (VFI) is adamant that if the forced closure continues, it will be a disaster of major proportions for irish pub owners. More than 1,000 establishments would be affected: an unthinkable situation in Irish mentalities, which are very attached to this institution.

The VFI took the opportunity to condemn the Irish government’s actions towards pubs, describing them as unsuitable and dangerous (as a reminder, only Irish pubs offering meals are allowed to operate, as opposed to establishments offering only drinks).

16 million support program for pubs is insufficient, according to VFI. For them, it will not compensate for the long months of inactivity and accumulated debts.

As a reminder, all Irish pubs were to reopen in Ireland from July 20, as part of the roadmap set by the government. This date has been postponed as the country is seeing a major upsurge in coronavirus cases. Since then, owners of Irish pubs have faced an uncertain future: no date has been set for a possible reopening of their establishments.

Worse still, Minister Leo Varadkar has hinted that “pubs serving only alcohol” may not be allowed to reopen this year.

In total there are about 3 500 Irish pubs in Ireland that serve only alcohol. All of them are forced to leave their doors closed.

This so-called support programme for owners of closed pubs is woefully inadequate. Our members are facing an autumn of uncertainty with no indication from the government as to how and when they will be allowed to reopen,” said Padraig Cribben, CEO of VFI.

Many voices are now being raised against the government’s restrictive policy on irish pubs. Many owners and patrons blame the government for their unpreparedness and undue firmness. For many Irish people, it makes little sense to allow the opening of Irish pubs offering meals and to refuse to allow the opening of simple pubs offering drinks.

It must be said that Ireland has been one of the strongest countries in dealing with the current health crisis. The country’s Irish pubs have suffered the longest closure compared to pubs in other EU member states. In Europe, other countries have reopened their bars, aware of what is at stake… while Irish establishments are still at a standstill.

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