Responding to the Executive’s decision to extend lockdown restrictions until March, Chair of CAMRA NI Ruth Sloan said:
“The extension of lockdown, whilst not a surprise, is nonetheless another blow for our pubs, breweries and cider producers, following on from nearly a year of closures, restrictions and curfews.
“It is clear now more than ever that the Executive must look at introducing a long-term financial support package for hard-working licensees and brewers. The Executive’s support scheme for businesses forced to closed is welcome and we hope that this will continue to be available to our pubs.
“But with many having only been allowed to trade for 23 days since the first lockdown they need extra help not only to cover costs during this extended lockdown – but also to prepare for and be able to re-open once restrictions start to be lifted and they can operate again, albeit with reduced trade and footfall.
“Ministers should recognise that local pubs and breweries are a force for good and play an important role in bringing people together, tackling loneliness and social isolation, and supporting their local communities. When this nightmare is over, they will be vital to our healing process – so long as they are still standing.”