Glass half empty: More than 7,000 of Wicklow’s pub workers in danger of losing their job: report
More than 7,200 jobs are at risk in Wicklow’s pubs and hospitality sector after it emerged that consumer demand for the pub will be lower due to the impact of Covid-19.
These startling figures were revealed in a report released by Drinks Ireland, an umbrella group consisting of the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA), Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI), and the Irish Business and Employers Confederation (IBEC), who are calling on the Government to offer some supports to the industry.
The report, written by Dublin City University Economist Professor Anthony Foley, reveals that 151 pubs in Wicklow will see their business cut by half for the remainder of 2020. And more worryingly, Professor Foley’s report suggests it could be 2023 before the sector reaches pre-Covid employment figures.
It is expected that most bars and licensed premises will only reopen with 40% of the staff employed previously, meaning more than 3,500 jobs are at risk immediately in the Garden County.
The report called ‘Reduce VAT on On-Trade Alcohol’ was published as part of the ‘Protect our Pubs’ campaign by Drinks Ireland, to highlight the role pubs play in communities and the loss to those areas should some never reopen.
The campaign found that on-trade pub alcohol sales will decline by 50% or more for the second half of 2020, this is “the most optimistic market expectation,” Anthony Foley said.
The report states that over 50,000 people are employed in the drinks industry in Ireland. It finds that of the 19,205 businesses in the hospitality sector (pubs, hotels, restaurants), 96.5% of these employ less than 50 persons meaning the sector is dominated by small businesses – businesses that are extremely exposed and at risk of shedding half their employment capacity should supports not be made available.
Commenting on his report, Professor Foley said: “We anticipate that economy-wide and hospitality-related levels of consumer demand will be lower after lockdown due to the higher level of unemployment and reduced earnings.
“It will likely be 2023 before we reach pre-Covid labour market conditions.
“Without doubt, Ireland’s drinks, hospitality and tourism sectors have been among the worst impacted. Due to restrictions, there is almost zero tourism and reduced demand in our hospitality sector. This impacts our entire economy and so represents a sector that requires Government intervention,” Professor Foley concluded.