DUNDALK publican Greg Gormley of Russell’s Saloon has said the recent restrictions on the hospitality sector has been “a massive blow for the industry”.
Tighter restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the Omicron variant came into force at midnight on Sunday last.
Under the restrictions, hospitality and cultural venues including pubs, restaurants, cinemas and theatres must close by 8pm from Monday.
“We have 12 to 15 staff looking for wages and a limited number of hours in the day,” said Greg.
“It’s a small window for staff and they have to share very few hours. Publicans, staff and customers are very disappointed.
“We are fearful of a total closure in January. Total closure would be detrimental to the business. Drinking habits could change forever.”
Tony MacGuinness of Market Bar, Clanbrassil Street said the restrictions have had “a very negative impact”.
“There’s a lot of confusion surrounding the whole thing and it’s putting people off going out,” said Tony.
“We are very disappointed that the hospitality sector is once again being hit. After two years, the government has nothing better to offer than lockdowns.
“They need to come up with a long-term strategy and invest in the health service. They need to train extra staff and be proactive and set up a Department of Covid.”
Tony added: “Our staff are suffering because they depend on their wages to pay their rent and to feed their families.
“We have intelligent people in Ireland. They just need to come up with a range of actions to be taken.”