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Varadkar tells publicans: 'We want to make sure you never have to close again'

The Tánaiste said he’d dare to put money on pubs re-opening indoors in July.

Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

THE TÁNAISTE HAS said that the wage subsidy scheme and CRSS supports will remain in place for pubs until they can “open fully and open properly”. 

In an address to more than 1,200 publicans at the Emerging Stronger virtual conference today, Leo Varadkar said the government’s intention is to “make sure [they] never have to close again”.

He also said that he hopes that indoor hospitality can resume in July and that he’d even “put money on it”.

Under the government’s latest roadmap, outdoor dining is set to resume on 7 June. 

In his address to publicans today, the Tánaiste said there wasn’t a “magic number” that would allow pubs to re-open indoors but it was rather the “trajectory” of Covid-19.

This would include an examination of cases, hospitalisations and the vaccine programme. 

“We would anticipate by the end of June that around 80% of the adult population will either be fully vaccinated or have been offered a vaccine,” he said, adding that data from the UK and Israel was encouraging when it came to Ireland’s own prospects. 

Varadkar also said that he would encourage local councils to allow hospitality businesses to make full use of outdoor spaces over the summer. 

“I’m working with Minister [Catherine] Martin so that the outdoor furniture grant can be extended to pubs,” he said. 

He reiterated that there would be “no cliff edge” for the government supports for businesses. 

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In terms of tourism, he said that local and domestic tourism was more likely in the coming months rather than international tourism. He said there was a “strong case this summer to restore travel to Britain”.

“Beyond Britain, when you’re talking Europe and the US, I think it’s only going to be possible with evidence of being fully vaccinated, meaning that return will be slower,” he said. 

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Sean Murray

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