THERE could be new hope for the many pubs across Fermanagh forced to stay closed as the go-ahead could be given for publicans to reopen this weekend when the Executive meets on Thursday.
First Minister Arlene Foster indicated yesterday that such pubs should be given a date after Thursday’s Stormont meeting.
It has been reported that some rural bars in Fermanagh have been working towards the 25th of July as a potential reopening date.
However, the fears are now rife that the Executive could be persuaded to sway after the Irish government delayed moving to phase four of its reopening plan, which would have seen so-called wet pubs – pubs that don’t serve food – in the South reopen last Monday.
In addition to this, Tanaiste Leo Varadkar said the Republic’s wet pubs won’t be able to open before August 10, suggesting that the date could be pushed even further.
Despite this, the North’s drinks body ‘Hospitality Ulster’ on Monday night called for all pubs to be given a reopening date.
Chief executive Colin Neill said the power of closure should be given to the authorities to shut down hospitality premises ignoring safety guidance.
“To save jobs and livelihoods it is vital that the power of closure is a sanction that is brought forward to make it clear to everyone, particularly any problem premises, that the responsibility of beating the spread of coronavirus rests on them,” explained Mr Neill.
Mr Neill also noted his frustration following the “lack of guidance” given as to when non-food pubs can reopen. “This is a situation that now needs dealt with urgently,” he said.
“Either the Executive step up with the financial support to keep these businesses afloat and to pay their staff the contribution of furlough at the end of July or they bring forward a date.
“I’m calling on the Executive to set a date to reopen our indoor pubs or give us financial support so that we can save those businesses and those jobs.”
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Posted: 9:21 am July 26, 2020