Limerick’s hospitality sector react to latest Level 5 restrictions

On Monday night, Taoiseach Micheál Martin revealed the government’s plan to move the entire country into Level 5 following NPHET recommendations.

These new restrictions will come into place at midnight tonight and will remain in place for six weeks.

Under Level 5 restrictions, pubs and restaurants are no longer permitted to serve customers in an outdoor environment, however they may provide a takeaway service if possible.

The news comes as a devastating blow to the hospitality sector which is already on its knees.

Ger Devine, Venue Manager at Pharmacia said: “In the space of six months we have gone from being a busy late-night venue with three bars, to being only open three nights a week selling takeaway cocktails.”

Staff have also been severely impacted by these new restrictions.

The Old Quarter has said: “The constant changing of rules and regulations is impacting our staff at the end of the day. Their jobs, their stability, their day-to-day lives. It’s frustrating to tell them that we are closing again.”

“Thankfully our team have stuck with us by us through it all. That’s all we can ask for really when nothing else seems to help the situation.”

Coronavirus cases have been rising exponentially over the past few weeks with over 1000 cases now being recorded daily.

“When the case numbers started to rise again, we knew another lockdown was on the horizon. We knew pubs and restaurants were in the crosshairs to be shut and it was a major blow to us,” the Old Quarter has said.

Finance Minister Pascal Donohoe confirmed at a press conference that pubs and restaurants will remain at Level 3 following six weeks in Level 5 and will be unable to open fully for the Christmas season.

Ger Divine said: “While public health has to be a priority and there is no easy answer to the current crisis, it has been grueling trying to keep a small business afloat in the face of one challenge after another.”

The Hospitality sector must once again rethink the way they provide their services and try to stay afloat during this ongoing pandemic.

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