Pubs, bars and nightclubs to remain closed for now

By Mary Dennehy

TAOISEACH Micheál Martin addressed the nation on Tuesday evening, and confirmed for the second time that Ireland would not be moving onto Phase 4 of its re-opening roadmap.

Pubs, bars, hotel bars, nightclubs and casinos will remain closed and will not open on August 10 as planned.

Dragon Stock 1

John Gannon with stock in mid-July

“I know that this will come as a blow to pub owners and I want them to know I have enormous sympathy for their plight.

This virus is taking away their ability to earn a living, to provide a key service in the heart of many communities,” the Taoiseach said.

“But we are doing what we are doing to save lives and to give our society and economy the best chance we can to open safely and sustainably.”

Shay Murphy, owner of the landmark Dragon Inn in Tallaght Village, has been ready to re-open for a number of weeks.

“We’ve all the stock in and are ready to go,” Shay told The Echo following the Taoiseach’s announcement.

“It is going to be difficult for pubs, we’ll have 40 per cent [of our capacity] in the pub at any one time, that’s not going to cover your costs.

“However, I’m more worried about the staff, they’re my biggest worry.

“How do they pay their mortgage, pay their rent, send their kids to school on PUP [Pandemic Unemployment Payment]?

“The Dragon is an established pub and we will be able to weather what comes, but I am really worried for my staff.

“Also, I’m afraid I’m going to lose good staff, people are going to go out of the business . . . there’s no sense of future in the business.”

At 53 years of age, Shay has spent his whole life in the Dragon, after his family bought the Tallaght Village pub in 1969.

“I know nothing else [except the Dragon],” Shay, who has been keeping himself busy by running the Dublin Mountains, told The Echo.

“And, I really miss all of the regulars.”

In preparation for re-opening, The Dragon has its Covid-19 signage up and sanitisers and screens in place – with Shay working towards getting the pub back open as soon as it is possible.

During the Taoiseach’s speech on Tuesday, it was also announced that face coverings will be mandatory in shops and shopping centres across the country from August 10.

He also confirmed that the size of crowds gathering will remain at 200 outdoors and 50 for indoors, with the evidence being reviewed again in three weeks’ time.

Keep-up-to-date with advice and guidelines at hse.ie or gov.ie.

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