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'We have a very uncertain future ahead' - Publican calls for pubs to reopen along with cafes and restaurants

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Wayne Harding owner of The Village Inn in Slane Co Meath

Wayne Harding owner of The Village Inn in Slane Co Meath

Wayne Harding owner of The Village Inn in Slane Co Meath

The owner of a family pub has called for pubs to be reopened at the same time as cafes and restaurants.

It has been reported this week that restrictions on the operating of cafes and restaurants will be loosened in the coming weeks however, Simon Harris previously told Independent.ie that "I can't see people in packed pubs again as long as this virus is with us".

Wayne Harding owner of The Village Inn, a pub in Slane Co Meath, which has been in his family for 33 years, said that the same loosening of these restrictions should apply to pubs, who are "already suffering".

"We closed on March 15, as all other pubs did," Mr Harding told Independent.ie.

"It's devastating for family pubs to close because they are embedded in the community and respected by everything in the community. They also give to the community as regards sponsorship

"We have a very uncertain future ahead, we don't know where it is going. There are 50,000 jobs at sake across the country.

"It was reported this week that restrictions for restaurants and cafés could be eased at some stage, but we don't know when.

"Pubs must be included in that."

Mr Harding said that, while it may be difficult, it would be possible for pubs to reopen while still allowing customers to follow social distancing guidelines.

"We could let a certain amount of people into the pub at a given time," he explained.

"We don't allow people to go to the toilet communally and we make sure people sit down and take seats out of the pub to make sure social distancing is ensured.

"It can be done. It will be hard but it must be done in a formatted way and every publican must have the same approach to it when they reopen.

"It's well known throughout the country that pubs are suffering anyway and it's well within our remit to include social distancing and reopen and be profitable."

Mr Harding explained how many publicans had ensured against business disruption, but continued that insurance companies are withholding payment for the disruption caused by the Covid-19 outbreak.

"We are insured for business disruption - that's clearly written in our policy, but the insurance companies are saying 'not in this case'," he said.

"Either you are insured for business disruption or not, but they'll find a line."

Online Editors