The horizontal and sectoral supports which the Government has put in place as part of the initial response to COVID-19 and the July Stimulus package provide a large level of support for enterprises in terms of assisting them with wage costs (wage subsidy schemes), defraying fixed costs (commercial rates waver and tax warehousing), direct grants (Restart Grant scheme, Tourism Adaptation Grant and other supports) and liquidity support through loan schemes.
Pubs and bars that do not serve food have access to this suite of horizontal supports.
In the context of pubs that do not serve food remaining closed, the Government accepted that there were ongoing costs that pubs faced over and above those of other businesses. In response to this situation, the Government, on 28 August 2020, introduced a range of measures to support pubs including the Restart Grant Plus 40% Top Up. Those businesses remaining closed and planning their re-opening can now receive a minimum of €5,600 and a maximum of €35,000 under the Restart Grant Plus, a waiver on court fees and associated excise and stamp duties relating to the renewal of pub and other liquor licences in 2020, waiver of excise duty on on-trade liquor licences on renewal in 2020.
These measures are in addition to the existing Restart Grant Plus, Tourism Adaptation Fund, the Wage Subsidy Scheme, commercial rates waiver, liquidity supports and tax measures (such as warehousing of tax debt and reductions in VAT).
The Government decided today (8 September 2020) that all pubs and bars will be allowed to open from 21st September 2020 without the requirement to serve a substantial meal subject to the current epidemiological situation and the application of any regional restrictions that may be in force at any given time. The Government also agreed that Fáilte Ireland Guidelines for Reopening Pubs will be reviewed and updated to reflect additional specific practical requirements for pubs which are not serving food to meet the objectives of the protective measures recommended by NPHET and that the evolving monitoring and enforcement arrangements in place for all sectors will apply to pubs and bars.
The issues raised by the association in the details supplied with your question fall within the remit of a number of Government Departments, including the Department of Justice and Equality, the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and the Department of Finance. While my Department is not directly responsible for any of these issues, I have noted the views expressed by the association.