The Winters’ Federation of Ireland has warned that the public is reluctant to open “just two weeks before Christmas” before it closes again.
Group chief executive Padreig Kriben said government plans to reopen certain sections of the community should not be focused solely on the festive season.
Speaking to RTI’s Katie Hanon on Saturday, he said there should be a plan for January and February, not just “two weeks before Christmas”.
“I do not think the general public is interested in celebrating and closing Christmas. There are costs to start and close.”
Cribben said it was impractical to return to Level 3 Kovid-19 regulations and that it would not be feasible if it were a government plan for December.
Under Level 3, bars and pubs serving food can be opened for take-away and delivery, as well as DotDoor can serve a maximum of 15 customers.
“If you look at a rainy day like today, it’s not on,” the VFI chief said.
He asked if people were going to socialize for Christmas and whether it would be “in a masked, socially isolated home or in a controlled environment in a pub”.
Cribben said pubs have demand and it would be good if it spreads widely.
“Pubs that want to open should be given the opportunity to do so.”
He wonders what would happen if there were no pubs in the north and no pubs in the south.
In border counties we have four times more infections than in the north and south, which ends when people in the south go to hotels and pubs in the north, and they bring the virus back down to the south. “
Housing Minister Darag O’Brien denied that it would happen. Although no decision has been made yet on whether to reopen the pubs, he said, “Of course there is hope.”
He said the government would liaise with those in the hospitality sector and then come to a responsible decision.
Minister O’Brien said the Kovid-19 vaccine would be a game changer and a priority for the government in 2021.
Independent TD Denise Notton told Katie Hanon that lockdowns are a sharp tool and “we don’t know which side works when they stop the rate of infection”.
“What we really need to do is abandon the Level 5 strategy and bring in a new model that will open up as much community as possible and ensure that the next wave does not come with a lockdown.”
He said the handling of the virus in France and Germany was very different from parts of Ireland.
“We need to look at the data here based on laboratories, contact tracing and hospitalizations, analyze it and see what reduces the spread of infection.”