‘Food is no protection against Covid’ – Tóibín

Aontú Leader Peadar Tóibín is one of the latest TDs calling on the government to “rethink strategy” when it comes to pub closures.

Saying that “food is no protection against Covid-19”, deputy Tóibín feels that if “the government does not step up to this challenge, then many pubs in rural Ireland will never reopen again”.

“The government has already delivered restrictions on a county basis,” he said.

“There is a precedent to matching restrictions in counties to the prevalence of Covid. They have accepted that there is a logic to dealing with restrictions on a county basis.

“Leitrim has had no reported cases of Covid in 20 days – yet their pubs remain closed. Many other counties have had very low levels of Covid for the last number of weeks yet their pubs remained closed.

This flies in the face of that logic.

The deputy said that pubs that have opened have had to “jump through significant hoops to even partially open and keep their heads any bit above water”.

‘Another slap in the face for pubs’

A drink cannot be purchased in pubs without spending at least €9 on food. Deputy Tóibín feels that “food is no protection against Covid”.

“Yet massive country pubs better able to socially distance cannot open if they don’t serve food. Many others have beer gardens.

“In city centre locations, restaurants and pubs have been allowed to use parts of the street to provide seating for customers. Similar could have been achieved for rural pubs also.

“A one size fits all rule does not make sense in many cases.”

The government is now considering allowing larger concerts to go ahead, but without alcohol.

“This will be seen as yet another slap in the face for pubs,” the deputy continued.

It is imperative now, if there is to be any future for pubs across the country, that the government steps up and foots the bill for the stocks which will now have to be poured out by heart-broken, financially-strained publicans.

“If the government does not step up to this challenge, then many pubs in rural Ireland will never reopen again.”