A week after the food-serving pubs and the hairdressers re-opened around West Cork, two of our reporters ventured out to see the reaction from customers and staff to the easing of restrictions
THOSE out on the town in Clonakilty last Sunday evening said they just happy to be out again socialising with friends and bringing some normality to their lives after lockdown.
At The Courtyard Bar, Willie O’Regan from Lyre thoroughly enjoyed his first pint since the bars closed in mid-March. ‘Both the pint and meal were lovely and it’s great just to be out and it was a nice relaxed evening,’ said Willie.
For Alan Hurley and Clodagh Cabby from Rossmore, this was their second time out since pubs serving food re-opened.
‘It’s just nice to be out again and have a bit of an atmosphere back again,’ said Clodagh, while Alan complimented the staff for putting in place an effective system, including partitions between the tables.
Over at the other end of the bar, John Whelton from Clonakilty was having the craic with three of his buddies at one of the tables.
‘It’s great to be out having a pint and I actually like the concept of the table service, but it must be tough on the staff, too, as they have so much extra work to do,’ said John.
Niamh Walsh and Chris Ryan, managers of the bar, said they have been extremely busy and admitted extra work is involved making sure mobile numbers are taken from customers and that social distancing is being observed.
‘I think that our customers are just delighted to be out again and they are happy with the service and the measures in place,’ said Niamh.
Niamh said that 95% of customers coming to their bar are happy to have food when having a drink but she said there’s always the odd person who doesn’t get it.
They have even installed a light activation system outside the main toilet door so that customers know when a toilet is free and it’s making things a lot more safer for themselves and their customers. Meanwhile, across town at Mick Finn’s Bar, customers were also soaking in the atmosphere.
Ronan Archbold – who said it was his second time being out in the pub – admitted it was just good to be out meeting people and having a pint and a meal, and watching the football. ‘It’s different alright, but Paul Foley is running it very well,’ said Ronan.
Anne Marie Murnane – who said she is a fan of the weekly Southern Star Coronavirus Podcast – also agreed that it’s being run very well.
‘You feel comfortable and safe and the food is great and we are getting used to booking ahead,’ said Anne Marie.
Michael O’Sullivan said he was glad to be back, too. ‘It’s different and you have to get used to talking to people from a distance,’ said Michael.
Pat Harte agreed and said it has been enjoyable to be out and commended Paul for the measures he put in place to ensure guidelines are being practised.