Wet pubs across the city and county will open their doors for the first time in more than six months today.
Publicans across Cork were finalising preparations for their long-awaited re-opening across the weekend after what has been a gruelling few months.
John O’Connor of An Spailpín Fānach admitted there will be a new way of doing things, but said if we don’t learn to live with the virus, we are going to be in trouble.
For now he will be opening from Wednesday to Sunday, to see how things go.
“It’s great to reopen the doors and get back to normality, I think it will be fine.”
“We do what we have to. It’s a new learning curve for the next month or two, new systems, I’m at it 30 years, I had my own system and procedures, but I suppose I have to learn a new way now. For a while anyway.” The city centre publican said his capacity is down from 180 to 65, but he also has an upstairs bar that he can use if he feels more space is needed for his customers.
“Im lucky, there are three or four snugs in my place, so people can socially distance in there.”
Mr O’Connor said his staff, who have been with him a long time, were thrilled to come back as well.
“They want to get back to normal. We will see how it goes, all we can do is our best, we can’t do anymore than that.”
Bantry publican and Councillor Danny Collins, who owns the Boston Bar in West Cork, opened two weeks ago serving pizzas, but said he was considering giving up the Italian dinners, now that the regulations have changed.
“I’m very happy pubs that serve drink can open. It has been a strain for me the past couple of weeks, having to force people to eat, that just want to come in for a couple of relaxing drinks and meet their friends and have a chat.
“Having to tell them they have to have a substantial meal was a bit overboard really, “Most of my customers would be elderly and single and bachelors really, and just need a bit of company during the day or the night.”
While ‘wet’ pubs will re-open in 25 counties around the country today, they will remain closed in Dublin for the next three weeks.