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Northern Ireland ‘wet pubs’ could re-open in less than three weeks time

An indicative date has been given of August 10 but it will be 'depending on the prevailing Covid-19 situation at that time'

Pubs could reopen by August 10, the Northern Ireland Executive has said.

The indicative date is for those indoors pubs which do not serve food – dubbed ‘wet pubs’.

This relaxation will be ratified in advance of the indicative date depending on the prevailing Covid-19 situation at that time.

The news comes three weeks after reported on an online petition set up by McKenna’s Bar in Armagh.

Owner Frankie McKenna told Armagh I at that time that many pubs in the city would struggle to stay afloat.

“A month could make the difference in whether you close your doors for good,” he said then.

And he added: “The government support that was there is now gone. There’s nothing more there. How can you pay bills when you have absolutely no income coming through the doors?

“If we aren’t given a date over the next three weeks it’s not looking good; look, you can’t just keeping ploughing money into a business that isn’t open.

“Even throughout the lockdown there has been ongoing costs; you can’t stop insurance, electricity; we did get a mortgage break but that starts again this month; the staff are on furlough but even that’s all coming to an end.

“If they said July 20, that’s fine, we can deal with that but if they said you can open tomorrow, we couldn’t do that because we have to get our drink off Diageo, you have to get your taps back on, such a backlog for the drinks company – it’s going take us two-three weeks to get ready.”

Bars and restaurants which have been selling food have already opened to the public.

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