The plea from the not-for-profit consumer group, which has more than 160,000 members, comes after the Sunflower pub in Belfast, a real ale pub, decided to close its doors until January due to a lack of Government support amidst the ongoing increase in Omicron cases and drop in consumer confidence following advice from the Government to limit social interactions.
CAMRA NI chairperson Ruth Sloan said: “It is devastating, if not entirely surprising, that pubs like The Sunflower feel they have no other choice but to close their doors until the new year.
“This should be the busiest time of the year for our pubs and our great local breweries and cider producers.
“Instead of getting money through the tills to help them recover and rebuild after the past two years, they now face another crisis as people are being urged to stay away and as more and more staff are forced to quarantine.”
Last week, it was announced the hospitality sector was predicted to sell 37m fewer pints and lose out on £297m in trade this festive period by the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), which equated to a drop of at least 25% reduction in trade, or £6,300, for individual pubs against a typical Christmas period.
Loss of progress
Sloan added: “It is absolutely vital that ministers in the Executive and the UK Government work together to come up with an urgent support package for pubs, brewers and the supply chain to help them cope with cancellations, staffing problems and the downturn in consumer confidence as a result of omicron.
“Without this vital financial compensation for loss of crucial Christmas trade and to help meet staffing bill and other fixed costs, we risk losing any progress we have made to rebuild our once-thriving pub businesses and safeguard them for the future.”