PUBLICAN Benny McCabe said he feared his staff would bring coronavirus home to elderly parents as he shut all 15 of his pubs last night in an effort to stop the spread of Covid-19.
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.
“We can’t be waiting for Dublin to tell us, we can see what is happening. It was the right thing to do. 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.”
Mr McCabe said he made the decision in consultation with his staff and a number of publicans around the city.
“It takes time to shut a pub, some closed Sunday, some closed last week. I can’t see anyone being open Paddy’s Day.”
The 49-year-old publican said that this would be his first St Patrick’s Day off in 43 years, since he started glass collecting in pubs at the age of six.
“I am delighted not to be working on Paddy’s Day. I think all of us are in one way glad of the break “Everybody needs to treat this as a pause in their lives, for the benefit of others who are less fortunate.
“Business sentiment goes out the window, money goes out the window, it’s material, that’s it. When we are told we can open again we will open again.
“In the meantime, my wife had hundreds of DIY jobs for me to do. I told her to give me 48 hours and then I would get stuck into them!”
Mr McCabe spent Saturday night in Arthur Maynes, saying goodbye to his staff which he said was heartbreaking.
“100 years ago Cork was burning to the ground, this is a different thing, now our health is burning, not the buildings.
"We will get over it, but these are the measures that we need to take to ensure that everyone is looked after.
“I see this as an opportunity to restart the national conversation about where we are going in general.
“This is where the Government need to have forbearance on that because there can’t be threats to people.
“We need to stand with the people and we need to do it as one. It is what it is, but there should be no need for anyone to panic, financially.”