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'We need state aid to survive this crisis', say city's publicans

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The Temple Bar’s Tom Cleary says publicans want to know what plan is in place for the industry when lockdown is lifted

The Temple Bar’s Tom Cleary says publicans want to know what plan is in place for the industry when lockdown is lifted

The Temple Bar’s Tom Cleary says publicans want to know what plan is in place for the industry when lockdown is lifted

Some of Dublin's best-known publicans are telling the Government they do not want to charge extra for pints and are against cover charges, but they need help from the State.

Charlie Chawke, who owns nine bars and employs 400 staff, said his premises, including Searsons in Ballsbridge, are "well capable" of operating social distancing measures.

"But the Government has to set out the requirements and open the pubs up," he told the Herald.

"People are getting very worried. The pubs across Ireland have no revenue.

Trouble

"A lot of them are in trouble. They want to get back to work and get staff working again. If it goes on too long, people will not open any more.

"We need help from the Government. We have to get back to work and put in the restrictions and the Government to set that out."

Tom Cleary, who has run the Temple Bar since 1993, said charging the customer for lost revenue is a non-starter.

"We haven't considered charging extra," he said.

"Our priority is to make sure the customer is happy they're coming to us.

"This is consumer-led. In Temple Bar today, if you opened up, there would be no customers, so you have to make it attractive for people to return to the pub.

"But we want to know as soon as possible - when the virus is under control, when the hospitals are running smoothly and when the health workers are looked after - just what plan is going to take place for the industry."

Six out of 10 Dublin pubs have said they will be forced to permanently shut down if restrictions do not allow them to re-open until next year.

A Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) survey found 60pc of the capital's pub owners have said their businesses will not re-open if they have to stay closed until next year.

In the survey, 76pc of respondents also said they would not support a scenario where restaurants are allowed to reopen but not bars.

However, three-quarters said they were satisfied with how the Government has handled the pandemic.

Seven out of 10 publicans in Dublin are also willing to re-open with restricted capacity and social distancing guidelines.

Sixty-eight per cent of Dublin pubs said they would prefer to try to re-open under strict guidelines rather than wait for a vaccine to be found until the business can return to normal.

LVA chief executive Donall O'Keeffe said that all food providers should be treated the same.