CoronavirusNewsPubs and Bars

Northern Ireland’s wet pubs receive £10m support package

Northern Ireland’s economy minister, Diane Dodds has announced a £10.6m relief fund for ‘wet bars’ that lost out due to Covid-19 restrictions in the summer months.

The support is aimed at the “hardest hit” traditional pubs which do not serve food and were therefore forced to close between 4 July and 23 September.

When announcing the Wet Pubs Business Support Scheme, Dodds said: “Our hospitality industry has been hugely impacted as a result of Covid Health Regulations and amongst those hardest hit are those traditional pubs only serving alcohol. 

“These establishments have been required to remain closed for longer than other businesses and [have] been unable to trade.”

She added that the scheme will support those “drink-only public houses” who were disadvantaged while “the rest of the hospitality sector was permitted to open and trade”.

Despite the financial aid being due to be rolled out at the start of next week (11 January), it has been deemed “too little too late” by many.

Stewart Dickson, the Alliance Party member, said: “The idea of a financial support scheme for those ‘wet pubs’ is a welcome one, and one which is completely necessary.

“However, the range of support schemes brought forward by the department for the economy have been categorised by delay and this is another example. This long and distressing process for all has led to some pubs which closed their doors not being able to open them again at all.”

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