Coronavirus latest: 12,500 bar workers in Cork city face uncertain future

Coronavirus latest: 12,500 bar workers in Cork city face uncertain future
Staff Siobhan O'Connor, Kim Kischkil, Marybeth O'Mahony and Cathan Barry at Sin e on Coburg street on Saturday night before its closure.Picture: Eddie O'Hare

More than 12,500 bar workers in Cork City face an uncertain future following the Government’s request for all pubs in Ireland to shut amid the worsening Covid-19 pandemic.

The first city hotel has also closed its doors, with Vienna Woods shutting down until March 29 at least.

The closures came as 40 more cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Ireland, bringing the total to 169.

Local Vintner’s chairman Michael O’Donovan, owner of the Castle Inn in Cork City, said the Government showed leadership by requesting the closures, but added: “There are 12,500 people employed in Cork City in our trade and they will all be affected.

“At the moment, we need financial support for publicans and their staff and we need rates locally to be frozen.”

Rearden's bars in Cork closed because of the Covid -19 virus until further notice.Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Rearden's bars in Cork closed because of the Covid -19 virus until further notice.Picture: Eddie O'Hare

The Government issued a direct request for all pubs, including hotel bars, to close until at least March 29

It followed images on social media of crowded bars in Dublin at the weekend.

Health Minister Simon Harris warned that the shutdown of bars and pubs is not an excuse to hold what he termed “Covid-19 parties”. 

He said we need people to show “cop-on and decency”.

“This is a very serious virus which has taken the lives of thousands across the globe and sadly two people here,” said Mr Harris.

The Government met with the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) and the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) before the decision was taken to ask all bars to shut.

A Government statement said: “The LVA and VFI outlined the real difficulty in implementing the published Guidelines on Social Distancing in a public house setting, as pubs are specifically designed to promote social interaction in a situation where alcohol reduces personal inhibitions.

“For the same reason, the Government is also calling on all members of the public not to organise or participate in any parties in private houses or other venues which would put other people’s health at risk.”

Earlier, Benny McCabe said he feared his staff would bring coronavirus home to elderly parents as he shut all 15 of his pubs on Saturday night.

Speaking to The Echo, Mr McCabe, who owns Crane Lane, Mutton Lane, The Oval, and Sin É, among others, said: “It was the right thing to do.

Benny McCabe
Benny McCabe

“We need to take action now and that is the end of it.

“I don’t want my staff bringing illness home to their parents, number one, and number two, I have been building this business for 25 years and the integrity of my business is not worth staying open for the next two weeks.

“Personally, it is catastrophic, but put a price on it? You can’t put a price on it, it is simply not worth it.”

More in this section

Sponsored Content