Following the Government of Ireland’s review of the Department of Health figures for Covid-19 cases as of the 5th August, the decision was made to postpone the re-opening of bars and pubs in Ireland to a future as yet undetermined date. A further review of the spread of Covid-19 in Ireland is to happen in or about the 26th August. This date is also to be confirmed. The further complication that this causes is for the annual licensing applications. The date by which the receipt of applications for annual renewal in Court in the 1st September 2020. Based on the current framework business that are not yet open are currently being asked to fund the renewal of their pub licences, restaurant certificates, dance and music and singing licences without the certainty of a re-opening date.
The current position for bars and pubs in Ireland is that premises serving food of no less than €9.00 in value per person can open and receive customers in groups of no more than six and contact details must be recorded to facilitate contact tracing. In addition customers can only stay a maximum of ninety minutes. Failte Ireland have issued a set of guidelines for the hospitality trade which are published in our recent article.
Bars and pubs which have not elected to serve food remain closed. The position of commercial rent payments has not been dealt with as yet by the Government and in most cases either been, reduced, suspended or deferred depending on agreements reached with individual Landlords. The staff working in bars and pubs are on temporary layoff and are entitled to the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.
The Industry is now calling on the Government to postpone annual licensing in the current environment. The additional costs to already struggling businesses are increasing pressure on the owners of bars and pubs. The Government has introduced a number of Covid-19 supports for business. There has been some criticism of the complexity of the applications. There has been low uptake of the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland, SBCI business support loans for this reason.
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