HU RAISES CONCERNS OVER DELAYED OPENING OF NON FOOD PUBS WITH EXECUTIVE OFFICE MINISTERS
11 August 2020
Following a series of meetings with the Economy Minister, Health Minister, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and Chief Scientific Advisor (CSA) over the weekend, Hospitality Ulster met with the First Minister Arlene Foster MLA and Executive Office Junior Ministers Declan Kearney MLA and Gordon Lyons MLA (remotely) to discuss the postponed reopening of non-food pubs.
The meeting comes after the NI Executive pushed back the previous date for reopening from 10 August to a new indicative date of 1 September.
Hospitality Ulster outlined to the Ministers that many business owners of non-food pubs have been left without any hope and unless they are reopened soon, a financial package from the Executive is now urgently needed to save many businesses employing thousands across Northern Ireland despite hotels, restaurants, and pubs serving food operating safely since 3 July.
The meeting also covered a range of potential solutions for the safe opening of pubs as the next three weeks could be too long for many who already have limited chances of a future in the sector.
Colin Neill, Chief Executive, Hospitality Ulster said:
“We welcome the meeting with First Minister Foster and Junior Ministers Kearney and Lyons today at Stormont, and pressed the case for non-food pubs to be open as soon as possible, and if not, then a bespoke financial package must be delivered immediately. The consequences of no support will mean that many jobs will be at risk, on top of those who have already been made redundant.”
“Although we have an indicative date of 1 September, that is an eternity away and there is no guarantee that this date will even be met. We now need to take a pragmatic approach and raised with the Executive Office Ministers, a number of ways in which we can get non-food pubs open in a safe way, just like the rest of the hospitality sector.”
“With track and trace systems and our call for the power of closure for any establishments who flout guidance, on top of the detailed safety and hygiene measures which have been in place for some time, we are doing all we can as an industry to prove to decision makers that we are exploring every possible option available.”