Thursday, 30 July 2020
Ceisteanna ar Reachtaíocht a Gealladh - Questions on Promised Legislation
Publicans are extremely worried about the long-term impact of Covid-19 on their businesses and their future. Many business owners feel they will not be in a position to open properly until a vaccine is found and they will require major financial support until that time. Social distancing is extremely difficult to maintain in a pub setting, but keeping pubs closed indefinitely is resulting in a massive surge in home drinking and uncontrolled house parties. This is contributing to the spread of Covid-19 and an increase in domestic violence, and it is building up a host of future health and social problems. Many publicans are over 66 years of age and do not qualify for the pandemic unemployment payment, PUP. A large number of pubs and bars were struggling to remain open prior to the start of the pandemic. The pub provides a very important focal point in towns and in rural and isolated communities. In many cases, it is the only social outlet available to vulnerable or elderly people who live alone. Its social importance cannot be overestimated. I ask the Tánaiste to introduce a package of significant measures under the July stimulus package to help publicans remain viable until a vaccine is found.