17 September 2020


Welcoming the news from the Northern Ireland Executive that ‘wet-led’ pubs will be allowed to reopen on Wednesday 23rd  September, Colin Neill, Chief Executive, Hospitality Ulster said:


“We welcome the confirmation from the NI Executive today that our traditional non-food pubs will be allowed to reopen on Wednesday 23rd September.”


“Although it is two days after the intended date, we recognise that it is better to delay by two days to get the new regulations right to support a Covid secure environment.”


“Over the last six months, we have campaigned tirelessly to secure the safe reopening of this vital sector of the economy and understand just how important this is for so many. For the hundreds of businesses and thousands of employees, this news will be a vital lifeline and will hopefully reassure those who were concerned for their future.”


“However, we do not underestimate the scale of the challenges ahead. First and foremost, the health and wellbeing of customers, staff and the wider public will be the priority for all publicans. We have provided detailed guidance in this respect and will continue to engage with the NI Executive and the statutory bodies to ensure compliance of the new regulations right across the industry. Nobody should be in any doubt that the hospitality sector locally is taking Covid-19 seriously.”


“It is important to acknowledge however, that for some individuals due to the continued restrictions, it simply will not be possible to reopen. We need to continue to look at how these individuals can be supported in the time ahead. The same must be done for colleagues in other parts of the hospitality and arts sector such as music and live event venues. It is vital that everything is done to get these individuals and places back on their feet once again.”





Danny Coyles, HU Chairman and licensee at The Anchor Bar Complex, Portstewart, said:


“On behalf of the Board of Hospitality Ulster and indeed the wider hospitality industry in Northern Ireland, I’d like to take this opportunity to pass on my sincere thanks to Colin Neill and his team for the tireless work they’ve done to get us to this point."


“I have no doubt that the industry and our livelihoods would be in a much worse position today had it not been for the round-the-clock efforts of the Chief Executive and HU staff."


“However, there is still work to do in ensuring the long term survival of our sector, including the reopening of all businesses, whilst upholding the paramount issue of public health."


“For that reason, your support and your membership of Hospitality Ulster have never been more vital as we look ahead to the next challenge together."


“I know that times are hard for everyone, but if you can, please ensure your HU membership is up to date so that the team can continue to fight on your behalf and secure the future of our industry."


“Without this organisation, I dread to think where we would be today."