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Taoiseach dismisses idea that €1 should be added the price of a pint when pubs reopen

The Taoiseach said he hopes pubs can open again before a vaccine is found.

Licenced Vintners Association has the prospect of pubs not opening for many months is an “an absolute nightmare scenario for the entire pub sector”.
Licenced Vintners Association has the prospect of pubs not opening for many months is an “an absolute nightmare scenario for the entire pub sector”.
Image: Shutterstock/Nitr

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has dismissed suggestions that €1 be added to the price of a pint after restrictions are lifted and pubs reopen. 

It was suggested the price hike might ensure additional revenue for pubs who will have to adhere to social distancing rules.

However, when TheJournal.ie asked Varadkar about the idea this morning, he said: “We won’t be doing that anyway.”

The idea was floated by an adviser to the Central Bank, Economist Alan Ahearne, who  said that supplementary charges – such as €10 on the cost of a meal or €1 on a pint – could help restaurants and pubs post-crisis.

The Taoiseach said he hopes pubs open again before a vaccine is found.

“It is impossible to say at this time,” said Varadkar when commenting on when pubs might reopen, but he pointed out that pubs in Sweden never closed through their restrictions. 

This is something we are going to have to “figure out as we go along”, he said. 

Minister Simon Harris said over the weekend that can’t see how large gatherings can go ahead before a vaccine is found.

“What’s not going to come back quickly are scenarios in which we can’t safely socially distance,” said Harris. 

The Taoiseach said he understood for publicans and restaurateurs this is a “very worrying time” particularly as the chances are that as the government reopens society what will open last are events with mass gatherings and places where people congregate.

Varadkar said the government would do its “best to assist” publicans.

“I wish I could give people more certainty but I can’t,” he said.

Licenced Vintners Association (LVA) chief executive Donall O’Keeffe said that is “the absolute nightmare scenario for the entire pub sector”. 

If that happens then most pub businesses in this country will be out of business for good.

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