A number of local publicans welcomed back customers on Monday as further restrictions were eased allowing all outdoor hospitality to re-open. That meant that local pubs with beer gardens were finally able to reopen their doors after a nightmare fifteen months which saw the industry take a battering due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Local pubs have been operating a booking system where customers ring or go online to book a table and according to reports from local publicans business has been brisk with the good weather helping encourage people to go out and meet up for a drink outdoors. Some pubs have also reserved a set amount of tables for walk ins on the day to try and maintain some level of normality.
Restaurants, beer gardens and cafes will be able to serve food and drinks outdoors, while gyms, swimming pools and leisure centres will reopen for individual training.
Several pubs around town worked hard in recent weeks and months to converting outdoor spaces on their premises into makeshift beer-gardens whilst other pubs spruced up already existing beer gardens ahead of the grand re-opening on Monday. Some pubs unfortunately simply do not have the space to offer outdoor services and they face having to wait another month until July 5th when indoor hospitality for pubs and restaurants can resume.
According to Padraig Cribben, VFI Chief Executive, there was a strong sense of anticipation among publicans as they finally reopened their doors.
“It’s a big day for the pub trade as 4,000 pubs are set to reopen for outdoor service. There is a strong sense of anticipation among publicans to get open and get back to what they do best. The message from publicans to old regulars and new customers alike is ‘we’ve missed you and welcome back’.
“The reopening for outdoor service will also see 25,000 staff return to work after an horrendous 15 months. Last year’s numerous lockdowns and partial reopenings played havoc with their lives so it’s important staff have confidence that we are now on the path to a full reopening.
“For the vast majority of publicans, outdoor service will keep them ticking over until indoor trading resumes on 5th July. We’re acutely aware that thousands of our members cannot open this week at they have no outdoor space and will have to wait another four weeks to resume trading.
“We’re hoping for a busy summer once all pubs open. There is a sense in the trade that people want to get out of the house and meet up. To get pubs back open will be a great sign the country is returning to normal,” says Mr Cribben.