300 staff at the Chawke Pub Group have been temporarily laid off, its management has confirmed.

The pub chain said it had taken the decision as a result of the increased Level 3 restrictions in Dublin and the changes to the Government's wage subsidy scheme.

The group is owned by well-known publican, Charlie Chawke, and includes the Goat, the Old Orchard Inn, Searsons, The Bank, the Lord Lucan, the Oval Bar and the Dropping Well in Dublin, as well as two establishments in Limerick.

Mr Chawke's son David confirmed the lay-offs, saying changes to the wage subsidy scheme had left the group with no leeway.

He said that while it used to take four-five days to get payment under the scheme, now it takes four-six weeks.

He also pointed to changes to the rates, which have fallen from €350 per employee per week under the old Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme to €203 under the new Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme.

As a result, Mr Chawke said, employees were better off on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

The group employs 360 people in total and the remaining 60 staff are still employed.

Mr Chawke said he hopes the staff can be rehired if restrictions in Dublin are lifted on 12 October, but added that now looks in doubt.

Currently, the group's seven Dublin bars are closed because Mr Chawke said it is not viable for them to serve just 15 customers outdoors.

He said the company had spent a lot of money in June getting the outlets ready for reopening, only for them to reopen and then close.

Pubs are being used as "scapegoats" he claimed for the fresh increase in the incidence of the virus.