Two perennially popular Athlone businesses are primed to reopen and welcome back custom following the most recent Covid-19 easing of restrictions announcement.
Both Athlone Regional Sports Centre (ARSC ) and Sean’s Bar are certain to be a hive of activity on Bank Holiday Monday, June 7, as the local community strives to regain a semblance of normality following a 15 month adherence to implemented public health guidelines.
While virus vigilance remains, the reopening of such leisure and hospitality businesses offers much hope for a community as thoughts turn towards a summer season of hope and positivity.
Speaking to the Athlone Advertiser this week, Liam Cunningham, Manager, ARSC, noted his aspirations as the centre prepare to welcome back members.
“We have been closed since December 31 2020, so to finally be in a position to welcome back our wealth of members is positive news,” Liam remarked.
The centre, located off the Ballymahon Road, has been closed for public use for 10 of the previous 14 months and while challenges may await with reopening, returning members are certain to enhance vibrancy on site.
“You are essentially rebooting a business impacted by a pandemic but we are looking forward to the times to come. While it has been a difficult time for all ARSC staff and our members, I am looking forward to their return and regular use of our gym and swimming pool facilities,” Liam stated.
While adhering to public health guidelines, members can use the ARSC booking system with regard to their intended use of the gym and swimming pool.
“Despite being closed for such a long period we have continued to engage with our members, hosting a virtual 5km run/walk on St Patrick’s Day and making online fitness classes regularly available,” Liam commented.
Use of the ARSC outdoor fitness park remains constant as members of the local public continue to enhance their personal health and invigorate energy levels courtesy of numerous exercise options.
“Since the implementation of relevant public health restrictions in 2020, there has been a general appreciation of the fitness resources available and it is a positive to witness our outdoor park garnering such traction,” Liam enthused.
The centre’s astro turf pitches are presently available for booking with group fitness classes continuing to take place in an outdoor setting for the foreseeable future.
“As we strive for a return to a positive business environment, we are currently making appointments for individuals who are considering becoming a member at ARSC and I would encourage those with such thoughts in mind to call our reception on 09064 70975,” Liam concluded.
Sean’s Bar to open on Monday
Meanwhile, noon on Monday afternoon marks a significant moment for the management and staff of Sean’s Bar.
Almost 15 months following the forced pandemic related closure of Ireland’s oldest public house, Sean’s Bar will recommence trade from its riverside location on Main Street.
Speaking to the Athlone Advertiser on Monday afternoon, Declan Delaney, General Manager, Sean’s Bar, noted tones of relief and eager anticipation as he prepares to reopen the doors of the popular public house.
“Yes, we are in the throes of final preparations as we eagerly await the return of custom to Sean’s Bar on Monday afternoon. Feelings of relief and excitement are most prevalent at this moment, but there is also an element of nervousness as we aim to return to a positive business environment following a long period of closure,” Declan stated.
An enhanced beer garden to the rear of Sean’s Bar awaits visiting patrons this summer season with no table reservations necessary.
“We have ample space in our enhanced beer garden and will be operating on a customer walk in basis. Customers will avail of table service, adhering to all the relevant public health guidelines as noted in the most recent easing of Covid-19 restrictions announcement,” Declan asserted.
Employing approximately 30 staff, Declan is hopeful that the progress made to date will continue and Sean’s Bar will not be forced to close in the future as the vaccination programme continues to have a positive impact on hospitalisation figures.
“Reflecting on the weekend scenes in Dublin city centre affords a precarious view regarding the current Covid-19 situation, but I am of the view that the general public are wholly aware of their public health guidelines responsibilities.
“I am optimistic that we will not have to close the business in the coming times as relevant statistics give grounds for positivity and I look forward to the return of customer ambience to Sean’s Bar, commencing on Monday,” Declan concluded.