No big days out this summer; Cork business leaders give their reaction

No big days out this summer; Cork business leaders give their reaction
Cork fans in Páirc Uí Chaoimh. 

Coronavirus is set to wipe out a summer of sport and gigs on Leeside after the Government announced a ban on large gatherings until the end of August.

Concerts and sports fixtures will be axed or rescheduled, with the Government confirming that events seeking licences for more than 5,000 people will be rejected.

Musgrave Park’s summer gigs, Live at the Marquee, and Westlife’s gig at Páirc Uí Chaoimh are all now expected to be postponed or cancelled.

Some of the acts that were due in Cork included Tom Jones, Diana Ross, The Coronas, Walking on Cars, David Gray, and The Chemical Brothers.

Live at the Marquee was due to take place from May 28 to June 29. While its capacity is under the 5,000 mark, it is not expected to go ahead as planned.

Musgrave Park’s summer gigs, including The Script and Walking on Cars, were to run from June 18 to 20, but these events would exceed the 5,000 limit on crowds.

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 the government restrictions.

Cork GAA Championship matches are also in doubt, but they could be held without crowds.

The cancellation of the gigs and matches will have a significant impact on businesses in the city centre.

Composite of just some of the artists who were due to play in Cork this summer. Left to right: Lewis Capaldi, Tom Jones, The Script, David Gray, Westlife and Pet Shop Boys.
Composite of just some of the artists who were due to play in Cork this summer. Left to right: Lewis Capaldi, Tom Jones, The Script, David Gray, Westlife and Pet Shop Boys.

The chief executive of Cork Chamber, Conor Healy, said 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,” he said.

“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 it highlights the need for a continued, enhanced government response in terms of supporting businesses.

“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 cashflow issues that they are going to have, particularly in sectors such as tourism, hospitality, and retail.”

Publican Ernest Cantillon, who owns several bars in Cork city, said that the announcement did not 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, staff will have jobs to come back to.

A change of career is not an option for many people working in hospitality, he said.

“It’s the only industry I’m trained in,” said Mr Cantillon. 

“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.”

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