Vintners claim pubs 'collateral damage' as fresh concerns raised over re-openings

VFI Chief Executive, Padraig Cribben, feels pubs that do not serve food have been unfairly targetted by the State.
Vintners claim pubs 'collateral damage' as fresh concerns raised over re-openings

The National Public Health Emergency Team will decide on Tuesday whether to reopen pubs on August 10 under Phase 4.

The Vintners Federation of Ireland is hitting out at the Government for sending a coronavirus safety message by not allowing pubs to open.

It said its members have been closed for five months and they need to get back in business.

The National Public Health Emergency Team will decide on Tuesday whether to reopen pubs on August 10 under Phase 4.

VFI Chief Executive, Padraig Cribben, feels pubs that do not serve food have been unfairly targetted by the State.

Mr Cribben said: "Just before July the 20th there was a spike in numbers which was down to house parties and travel, and the Government decided then to keep pubs closed as a means of sending a message to the public.

"Now we believe that is unfair, it is using pubs as almost collateral damage to send a message when they should be tackling issues that are there.

"What we are fearful of what's happening now is that the pubs will be used as collateral damage to send a message, instead of going to where the problem is and solving the problem."

However, a leading expert believes there is "no question" the re-opening of pubs might have to be delayed if the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise.

Kingston Mills, an immunology professor at Trinity College Dublin, said that may have to be put on hold.

He said: "The trend over the last week has been worryingly upwards, and if it continues to go upwards then there is no question that the Government will have to look at either delaying stage four or at re-introducing more restrictive measures."

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