OFF LICENCES are reporting a brisk trade this weekend following the closure of pubs but operators have moved to ease fears that people are having house parties.
Gary O’Donovan, owner of the O’Donovan’s off licence chain, say customers are buying small amounts of alcohol for consumption after a busy day at home, as opposed to having house parties.
Off licences were allowed remain open following restrictions placed on businesses earlier this week.
Mr O’Donovan said: ‘’Business is brisk and is spread out over the day. Products like draught Guinness in a can is popular for example, because people can’t get it now in the pubs."
“There aren’t customers for house parties. People are afraid to socialise. People are coming in for a glass of wine or a can of beer at home at the end of the day.’’
Mr O’Donovan said he has eight off licences in the city and county, with up to 60 staff.
He said there are some new faces coming into the outlets, and this is echoed by Fermoy off licence owner Noel McCarthy.
Mr McCarthy, who is also a Fine Gael county councillor, said: “I am seeing a lot of new customers that would never come into the off licence except at Christmas.’’
He said customers are purchasing small amounts of alcohol, typically bottles of wine or a couple of cans of beer.
Mr McCarthy said he hates seeing pubs have to close in the current climate but is hoping they will be able to reopen shortly.
He said: “Off licences are lucky that they are one of the essential services that can stay open.’’