'It’s like our first day back at school': More Cork businesses reopened today

'It’s like our first day back at school': More Cork businesses reopened today
Mary McCarthy, Director of the Crawford Art Gallery. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Today marks another significant day in the reopening of Ireland’s economy as many of the remaining businesses closed due to Covid-19 opened their doors to welcome customers and visitors back in. 

In addition to the volume of people clamouring for haircuts, tattoo appointments have also been in demand, according to the manager of Love Hate Social Club, Robyn Long. 

The renowned studio, owned by Ami James and Guy Saar, reopened this morning much to the delight of many Leesiders keen to get inked. 

"We’re crazy busy! I did all the emails at 8pm last night and there’s 16 emails already this morning that I have to get through, but we’re delighted," Ms Long told The Echo.

Robyn Long, Manager of Love Hate Social Club Tattoo Studio, French Church Street. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Robyn Long, Manager of Love Hate Social Club Tattoo Studio, French Church Street. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

"We’ve had to reschedule all the appointments that were made since March. 

"There’s a lot of people looking to get tattoos and piercing and microblading.

"We’ve been in all week preparing. 

"We’re already really well versed in cross-contamination," said Ms Long, adding that there are some changes to how the studio now operates. 

"We have removed our waiting area and we are just going to have one person come in at a time. 

"We’re going to have shorter hours and we’re staggering our bookings as well," she explained. 

Elsewhere along French Church Street, which was gently bustling with people earlier this morning, much-loved restaurant 14A reopened their doors to the public. 

"We’ve been working hard the last couple of days to get everything ready. 

"We finished the cleaning at 2am last night,” manager Fran Alvarez told The Echo

"It’s amazing to be back. We’ve had a lot of customers this morning - all the regulars which is lovely to see," he said. The establishment has removed a number of tables to ensure social distancing is adhered to and all staff are wearing face shields, with hand sanitizer stations also in place. 

Mr Alvarez said the reaction from customers has been incredible. 

"A lot of people were saying they couldn’t wait to come and have a decent cup of coffee, a nice breakfast and just get out of the house," he said. 

Fran Alvarez, Manager of 14A, French Church Street. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Fran Alvarez, Manager of 14A, French Church Street. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

On Emmet Place, one of Cork’s landmark cultural institutions reopened after 100 days of being closed to the public. 

Director of the Crawford Art Gallery, Mary McCarthy said she was "very excited" on a landmark day for the Gallery. 

"It’s like our first day back at school," she laughed. 

"I think artists and the cultural organisations of the city have a big part to play in our resurgence."

Ms McCarthy said that although the visitor experience will be a little different, staff have made every effort to ensure that a trip to the Crawford is still special. 

"There are more staff around so when you come in the front entrance you’re going to be greeted and given suggested routeways through the building. 

"They’re suggested, but very interestingly, they will take you through different parts of the Gallery which you may not be familiar with.

"We’ve opened two new exhibitions, one on Ireland’s maritime history and secondly a big new collection show, as well as the In Transit exhibition which we had open for just one week before we had to close. 

Mary McCarthy, Director of the Crawford Art Gallery. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Mary McCarthy, Director of the Crawford Art Gallery. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

"There are lots of new experiences for people but we’ve tried to make it as simple as possible as well. 

"There’s no temperature checking, there’s no pre-booking, it’s free and open to the public. 

"You may have to wait a few minutes if it’s very busy but we would say that galleries are very good safe distance places with loads of space" she said. 

The Crawford’s outdoor café will reopen on July 10, with both indoors and outdoors open from July 17. 

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