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'Closing pubs has done nothing to fight spread of virus'


The LVA’s Donnall O’Keeffe who has hit out at closures

The LVA’s Donnall O’Keeffe who has hit out at closures

The LVA’s Donnall O’Keeffe who has hit out at closures

A group that represents pub and bar owners is claiming the closure of their businesses in Dublin is not reducing the spread of the coronavirus.

The Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) yesterday accused the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) of "failing to produce data to justify" its claims that infections were arising in pubs and restaurants.

"The decision to close the hospitality sector in Dublin has not made a difference in reducing the levels of infection," it said in a statement.

"Most pubs and restaurants across the capital were forced to close on September 18 following the Government's decision to ban indoor service.

"In the 18 days since their forced closure, the level of infection in Dublin continued to grow."

The group said that despite the Government advocating a "living with Covid-19" approach, they have "repeatedly singled out the hospitality sector to bear the brunt of restrictions without providing meaningful supports to ensure businesses and jobs that were viable pre-lockdown will remain s o.

"A further sign of the inconsistent approach is that the non-food pubs are allowed to offer outdoor service in every county except Dublin," it said. The LVA has called for the restoration of the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme for the hospitality sector and the abolition of commercial rates from October 2020 to September 2021.

It also called for the 9pc VAT on food in pubs to be reintroduced, for excise to be cut by 15pc and for increased cash grant aids to reflect the extended pub closures.

"The big idea for reducing the level of infections in Dublin was to keep the pubs and restaurants closed - and that hasn't worked," said Donall O'Keeffe, chief executive of the LVA.