Publicans have demanded the government announce that indoor trading can begin again on July 1 in line with the vaccine plan.
The Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) says that date provides for up to another five full weeks to complete the vaccine rollout. There is speculation that Taoiseach Micheál Martin could announce on Friday that pubs and restaurants will re-open in the first week of July.
The LVA says 45% of the adult population has now received a vaccine, while Tánaiste Leo Varadkar was recently reported to have said that all adults should be offered access to the vaccine portal by the end of June.
"The success of the vaccine rollout is completely changing the picture when it comes to the pandemic,” said Donall O’Keeffe, Chief Executive of the LVA.
"Hospital admissions are reducing and the number of people in ICU has also fallen considerably. That progress is likely to continue throughout the rest of May and into June. Those involved in the vaccine rollout deserve immense gratitude for all they have done and are continuing to do,” he added.
The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) has also called for the Government to confirm that pubs can fully reopen in July in time for the traditional start of the summer tourist season.
Although the VFI has welcomed the reopening of pubs for outdoor trading on June 7, it claims that for the vast majority of its members running an outdoor-only business is not sustainable.
“Every day counts for our members and they need to hear from Government this week that indoor trading can resume no later than Thursday, July 1,” Padraig Cribben, VFI Chief Executive, said.
“After a horrendous 15 months, it’s great to see the country reopen and publicans along with their staff are certainly looking forward to being part of that process. The successful vaccination programme sends a strong signal that life is returning to something approaching normal,” he added.
Mr Cribben pointed out that this week, pubs in the north will reopen indoors, three weeks after outdoor trading started there.
“We have said all along that pubs in the Republic should follow the same timeline, which would see our members reopen indoors by July 1,” he added.
Mr Cribben warned that a two-tier pub sector on the island won’t work for longer than a couple of weeks as “already people are crossing the border to socialise".
“As we remain on course to have the vast majority of the population receive their first vaccination by the end of June, it follows that a full reopening of pubs should then be permitted,” Mr Cribben said.
“When our pubs do reopen they must follow strict social distancing guidelines and we are asking the Government to get those guidelines published immediately so our members can begin preparations."