The decision by the Government and NPHET to postpone the commencement of Phase 4 on the Roadmap to reopening Society and Business has afforded due cause for further business uncertainty amongst personnel working within the local pub trade.
Originally due to reopen to from July 20, local publicans must now wait until Monday, August 10, to welcome custom, as confirmed COVID-19 cases continue to be of concern.
Speaking to the Athlone Advertiser this week, Declan Delaney, General Manager, Seans Bar, noted his frustration with the further closure extension but was of the view that such a scenario was apparent with relevant guidelines not forthcoming as July 20 approached.
“While the announcement by the Government and NPHET last week gives cause to much frustration and disappointment, I was of the opinion that reopening the local pub trade on July 20 was not going to proceed as relevant guidelines failed to materialise.
“Prior to the reopening of restaurants, the relevant governing body issued those businesses with guidelines approximately ten days in advance of trade commencing. Such guidelines were not forthcoming for those working within the pub industry so at that stage, I thought that reopening on July 20 would not occur,” Declan remarked.
With restaurants reopening, Declan felt an air of positivity pertaining to the recommencement of the pub trade, but with COVID-19 markers escalating on a global stage related to social indoor gatherings, he is of the view that the Government and NPHET ultimately made the right decision to postpone the start of Phase 4 on the Roadmap until August 10.
“Ultimately, the Government and NPHET made the right decision in this regard. No pub or business wishes to reopen and be the cause of a cluster outbreak within the community. As frustrating as that may seem, a person’s health is of far more importance at this time,” Declan asserted.
Noting that the pub industry now needed a “bailout” to ensure financial support and economic viability upon reopening, Declan and his colleague have been working through the pandemic to prepare for the date when Seans Bar finally welcomes customers back to the premises.
“During high season, we would employ approximately 20 staff, both part and and full time and they have been fully understanding of the situation. We are continuing to prepare the pub in line with relevant health and safety guidelines prior to reopening.
“For the short to medium term, we are focussing on the enhancement of our outdoor space to accommodate our customers. It is a huge plus in the present circumstances to have such a well sized space as customers are less likely to contract the virus in an outdoor setting while maintaining social distancing measures,” Declan emphasised.
Depending upon the COVID-19 statistics progress in the coming times, Declan is uncertain that August 10 will see the reopening of local public houses.
“To implement necessary health and safety regulations and procedures and train all our employees, we would need up to two weeks notice and as each day passes without notification of same, a doubt remains with regard to an August 10 restart,” Declan concluded.