'The level and scale of cases has meant it has affected all industries': Cork businesses feeling impacts of rising Covid cases

Staff shortages are being felt across the urban hub of Cork, with a number of venues closing their doors due to the virus. 
'The level and scale of cases has meant it has affected all industries': Cork businesses feeling impacts of rising Covid cases

Yesterday, HSE chief Paul Reid warned Covid-19 was “running rife” in communities in Ireland. Pic: SkitterPhoto/Pexels

A NUMBER of Cork City venues have had to close, while other businesses are dealing with a logistical nightmare as Covid-19 leads to employee absences and staff shortages.

Yesterday, HSE chief Paul Reid warned Covid-19 was “running rife” in communities in Ireland.

Speaking to The Echo, prominent publican Benny McCabe, who owns a number of popular establishments across the city centre, including The Oval, Crane Lane, Mutton Lane, Vicarstown Bar, and Rising Sons, The Bodega, and The Poor Relation, said a number of their staff are off and they are taking it day by day.

“We have staff out, we have staff isolating, there are absences, but we have a large team and we are still opening our doors at the moment.”

Mr McCabe said it was logistically difficult, but, for now, they were in a good position. “We kept on all our staff during the lockdowns and we have a number of people to call on, so we are doing OK, but, like everyone else, we are taking it day by day.”

The staff shortages are being felt across the urban hub of Cork, with prestigious restaurant The Glass Curtain announcing a temporary closure, due to staff illness.

Gastropub The Raven also had to close its doors because of “an unfortunate string of positive antigen tests within the staff”.

The Raven posted on social media, stating its intention to reopen by January 17, with The Glass Curtain aiming for January 6.

Dwyers of Cork, on Washington St, said it is working hard to keep its doors open, with all staff taking antigen tests at home daily prior to starting their shifts.

Speaking to The Echo, company director Tara Lyng said: “We’ve been extremely lucky, in that we haven’t been affected really. We’re doing daily antigen testing for the staff and have communicated that anyone with any Covid-like symptoms stays at home.”

All sectors impacted 

Cork Chamber chief executive Conor Healy said the issue of staff shortages had impacted all sectors at various times across the past 20 months, in line with Covid-19 peaks. “There is concern with the level of cases and it’s inevitable that there would be a knock-on effect.”

Mr Healy said in retail, hospitality, and the office sector, the impact was across the board.

“It is more obvious in public jobs, but across all sectors there has been an impact. The level and scale of cases has meant it has affected all industries, but the service sector is more visible and obvious.”

Neil McDonnell, head of small business group Isme, said it is becoming increasingly difficult for some companies to keep their doors open.

“It is becoming very difficult to get replacement staff... there are very significant levels of reporting of people who are isolating at the moment, and the current Omicron [variant] does appear to be spreading extremely quickly,” he told Newstalk radio.

Yesterday, 9,006 cases of Covid-19 were reported.

Covid "rife" in community 

HSE chief executive Paul Reid told RTÉ’s This Morning that there is “no doubt now” that Covid-19 is “absolutely running rife in our communities”.

He said: “If you think that you have Covid, it’s most likely that you have it.”

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