Publicans wary of ‘false dawn’

The Government announcement that all pubs will reopen on Monday, September 21st has been warmly welcomed by publicans in County Roscommon, although the Roscommon & District Chairperson of the Vintners Federation of Ireland said he is wary of another ‘false dawn’.

Larry Brennan, who co-owns Down The Hatch in Roscommon town, said he hoped publicans would be given a chance to work with HSE guidelines.

“We’re delighted with the decision to reopen pubs on September 21st because we feel that the whole thing is now back in our hands. It is up to us now to prove that we can make the guidelines work,” he said.

Mr. Brennan did however express his concerns that the reopening could be further delayed.

“I hope it’s not another false dawn. This is the fourth reopening date we have been given at this stage and there’s only so many times they can march us to the top of the hill before we lose faith. I am quietly confident this time though that all pubs will be allowed to reopen,” he added.

There remain concerns among some business owners however that the rising number of Covid-19 cases in recent days could scupper plans to reopen next Monday week.

“I would see the number of cases as a concern but long-term we are going to have to get used to living with Covid-19. Until there is a vaccine, life as we once knew it won’t return. We can’t leave pubs and businesses closed but we do need to have proper guidelines in place. I accept that the numbers are high, but we can’t really blame the pubs because they have been closed since March.

“There are people whose only social outlet is a couple of pints with neighbours and friends in their local pub and therefore the onus is on pubs to enforce the rules.

“I have no doubt that we will make it work because we are resilient and because we simply have to make it work,” Mr. Brennan concluded.