New research shows that more than a fifth of pubs in Ireland have continuing costs of up to €2,000 a week to sustain while generating no revenue as they remain closed during to Covid-19 restrictions.
The research from the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) was conducted among 1,085 publicans in Ireland last week.
It reveals that over 22% of pubs have incurred continuing costs of between €1,000 and €2,000 a week for items such as salaries, salary top-ups, rent and maintenance, among others, during the lockdown.
60% of publicans said that government subsidies cover only 20% or less of their costs every month.
DIGI also said that for those who have been allowed to reopen under Government guidelines in recent months, 40% reported a decline of over 50% in trade compared to the same time last year.
A further 40% reported a reduction of over 60% in profits on the same time last year.
15% of pubs have reopened only part time due to the reduced level of business as a result of Covid restrictions.
DIGI said that businesses in the drinks and hospitality industry have proven over the past number of months that they can operate in a controlled and safe environment.
But it said the industry finds itself operating essentially under Level 4 restrictions nationally and Level 5 for Dublin wet pubs, without any certainty as to the strategy or criteria for lockdowns.
Today's research also shows that one in four publicans have accumulated over €20,000 in debt as a result of their business being closed due to Covid restrictions, while 15% of pubs have accumulated over €50,000.
One third stated that there is a moderate chance that their business will close permanently.
67% of publicans also said that their mental health has suffered as a result of trying to keep their business afloat during the last seven months of restrictions.
Liam Reid, Chair of the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland, said that the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown on the drinks and hospitality sector in Ireland continues to be severe.
Mr Reid said that with further restrictions an inevitability, coupled with a lack of a coherent strategy or any certainty, the sector requires a direct response and targeted support measures.
"Ahead of next week's Budget, the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland is calling on the Government to give due consideration to the current constraints that exist within the drinks and hospitality sector and to consider how measures such as a 15% reduction in excise tax, which is the second highest in the EU, can help to create a more pro-business environment for the industry," Mr Reid said.