PUBLICANS across West Cork have slammed the drip feed of information from the government about the re-opening of bars and restaurants.
While non-essential retail shops and hairdressers can open next Wednesday after a six-week lockdown, the government has yet to confirm details about bars and restaurants re-opening in the lead up to Christmas.
Speaking to The Southern Star, Cllr Danny Collins – who runs The Boston Bar in Bantry – has criticised the different rumours being leaked and stressed that Level 3 is not feasible – especially in December. Although he served up pizzas during the last re-opening, he doesn’t think he will be serving food this time. ‘Customers just want a couple of drinks and a bit of company,’ he said, adding it’s hard to be ‘forcing people’ to eat.
‘There’s no real proper information out there and this is very frustrating for us and has been over the past nine months, whereby leaks are coming out from government sources before any decision is made,’ said Cllr Collins, whose brother is an independent TD.
‘This is causing massive anxiety for everyone, as no one knows what is going to happen. It’s the pubs that sell drink that are being slaughtered and they’re saying that we can’t run our businesses – we are being classed as irresponsible business people.’
Ger Harte, who runs The Courtyard in Clonakilty, which serves food, said that reverting back to Level 3 will not work. ‘If it’s outdoor we will not be opening, and that’s for the safety of our staff too, and it’s also not viable to serve food externally at two or three degrees,’ said Ger.
‘We need indoor dining and preferably indoor drinking. It’s also very disrespectful to both publicans, hoteliers and their staff not to, at this point, release some information about what is expected on re-opening.’ Ger is remaining optimistic that his bar will be open in some form or another, but he wants more notice so that he can hire staff and plan properly.
Cork South West Fianna Fáil TD Christopher O’Sullivan told The Southern Star that he has already asked and pleaded with both the Taoiseach and the Minister for Health to consider Level 3 with ‘tweaks’ that would allow indoor dining and allow pubs that don’t serve food to re-open in a controlled measure.
‘Obviously this is highly dependent on the numbers reducing and reducing further, but we have a seen a decrease in numbers and I am hopeful that will continue under the remainder of Level 5,’ said Deputy O’Sullivan.