HU CALLS FOR POWER OF CLOSURE AS IT SEEKS THE REOPENING OF ALL LICENSED PREMISES

HU CALLS FOR POWER OF CLOSURE AS IT SEEKS THE REOPENING OF ALL LICENSED PREMISES

21 July 2020

Hospitality Ulster has called for the power of closure to be introduced for those in the hospitality sector who ignore Covid safety guidance, as it seeks the reopening of all licensed premises.

 

The organisation says that it is now time to put responsibility for Covid safety on individual premises and not penalise responsible licensees of ‘wet-led pubs’ who have obeyed the requirements to remain closed - despite the fear of bankruptcy.

 

Covid safety is everyone’s responsibility. Individual premises that deliberately ignore the safety guidelines should be penalised, Hospitality Ulster has stated.

 

Whilst it understands that the pressure of looming bankruptcy is forcing some wet only pubs to open against the NI Executive’s closure order, the organisation said it cannot condone this action or indeed any illegal activity. These desperate actions highlight the need to reopen all pubs under the same rules as food-led pubs and restaurants.

 

Severe disappointment has also been expressed about reports that some premises have taken it upon themselves to ignore social distancing and Covid safety guidance despite repeated reminders that the coronavirus remains a significant threat to public health.

 

Hospitality Ulster says that the sector has come through a particularly dark time in the past few months and that those small number of premises that flout the guidance place the whole sector in jeopardy when they need to show leadership.

 

Colin Neill, Chief Executive, Hospitality Ulster said today:

 

“We need a date that we can get the whole hospitality sector back up and running. This includes the introduction of a date for wet-led pubs, who, so far, have failed to figure in the decision making of the NI Executive.”

 

“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. If they don’t take the appropriate actions now, then everyone will suffer.”

 

“A strong message needs to go out to those who don’t think adherence to guidelines are required. They are, and they are important, firstly for the safety of staff and the general public, but also for the economic future of the sector. We are grappling to survive and shouldn’t do anything that might hinder a safe return. The future of the entire industry and in particular wet-led pubs are in the hands of those already open and every effort must be made to comply with the NI Executive’s Covid guidance.”

 

He added:

 

“If there are premises intentionally ignoring the safety guidance then they should be reported to the authorities immediately, whose hand should be strengthened to close premises who deliberately breach the guidance.”

 

“Ignoring the safety guidance is simply unacceptable and the lack of interest and attention to detail will ultimately have a direct impact on getting everyone open within a safe and responsible timeframe.”

 

“A focus on these measures will only be for a short while in the grand scheme of things, and if we do what we need to do now, then we’ll be out of the woods quicker.”