Over 4,000 jobs in Mayo could be at risk in the drinks sector, as many pubs expect business to be halved for the rest of this year.
A new report shows the even if Mayo's 373 pubs all reopen, with half of their normal capacity by the end of the year, which is an optimistic scenario, over 4,000 jobs could be permanently lost - not to mention countless more jobs in supporting trades such as catering, security and entertainment.
The report was carried out by DCU Economist Anthony Foley, and states that on-trade pub alcohol sales will decline by 50% or more for the second half of 2020.
It concludes that consumer demand will be lower after the Covid-19 lockdown, due to higher unemployment and reduced earnings, while it will likely be 2023 before labour market conditions return to pre-Covid levels.
Pubs that don't serve food are due to reopen on 20th July, but this report found that most bars will reopen with only 40% of their customers, indefinitely.
For the pubs intending to open in the coming weeks, Government guidelines will mean a significant change in how they operate, with reduced capacity and time limits on customer visits.
Publicans representatives are calling for a temporary reduction in the VAT rate on alcohol sales in pubs to support the 7,000 pubs nationally that will struggle in the short-term.