Concerts and sports fixtures set to be held in Cork this summer are now in jeopardy following the banning of mass gatherings across the country.
The government confirmed this afternoon that events requiring licenses in excess of 5,000 people will not take place until the end of August.
The decision, which was taken by government ministers at a cabinet meeting this morning, means that major sporting events, concerts and festivals will be postponed or cancelled for the months ahead.
The ban will have an impact on Cork’s sporting calendar and the summer gigs which were expected to attract thousands to the city from the end of May.
Musgrave Park’s summer gigs, Live at the Marquee and Westlife’s gig at Páirc Uí Chaoimh are now eliminated following the announcement.
Live at the Marquee is due to take place from May 28 to June 29. With a capacity of around 4,000, it is uncertain if the scheduled gigs will go ahead.
Musgrave Park's summer gigs were to run from June 18 to 20 and Westlife were due to play Páirc Uí Chaoimh on August 28 and 29.
Organisers of the gigs, Aiken Promotions and MCD Productions, are yet to make a statement on this afternoon’s announcement.
The cancellation of the gigs will have an effect on businesses in the city centre that rely on the droves of visitors to Cork during the summer months.
Chief Executive of Cork Chamber, Conor Healy said that the announcement was not unexpected.
“I think it certainly is a further setback to those businesses but I think equally, it needs to be considered in the context of many of the businesses that would have benefited from the concerts.
“There’s a question whether those businesses themselves will be fully operational in that timeframe anyway, so I think it’s disappointing but it’s not unexpected and it’s in line with the challenges that all businesses are facing."
He said that the most recent announcement relating to mass gatherings also highlights the need for a continued and enhanced government response in terms of supporting business.
“While the measures and supports that have been announced to date are of value, and they’re all very welcome, much more needs to be done to allow businesses to get back on their feet and deal with cash flow issues that they are going to have, particularly in sectors such as tourism, hospitality and retail.” Owner of Kinsale Gin and publican, Ernest Cantillon owns popular pubs in Cork city that would normally attract people following a large event in the city centre such as a GAA match or a concert.
The owner of Sober Lane and Electric in the city centre said that the announcement didn’t come as a surprise but that he is keen to reopen the pubs when it is deemed safe to do so.
He said that as long as the government continues to support the wage subsidy scheme that staff will have jobs to come back to.
He said that a change of career is not an option for many people working in hospitality.
“It’s the only industry I’m trained in, I don’t know how to do anything else so when people say about going off and working in something else, I don’t know what that could be because I don’t have experience in anything else and the same would go for my team.
“The people who own the pubs need them to reopen, I have a job and I like doing it and it’s all I know how to do so however long it takes, everything is motivated in me to reopen and I think that most businesses if they can at all will try,” he said.