Restaurant bookings surpass pre-pandemic levels despite Covid surge

Reservations and walk-ins have remained high since restrictions were eased in the summer
Restaurant bookings surpass pre-pandemic levels despite Covid surge

Tomas Doherty

Restaurant bookings are now surpassing pre-pandemic levels despite the recent surge in Covid cases, according to new data.

The number of seated diners in restaurants in Ireland this month averaged at 85 per cent above the same time in 2019, according to figures from the booking website OpenTable.

Since the hospitality sector reopened in June, restaurant diner numbers have remained well above 2019 levels.

The data from OpenTable covers online, phone and walk-in reservations for restaurants on their network in Ireland and allows for a comparison with the equivalent pre-pandemic period in 2019.

On Saturday, November 13th, seated diner reservations in Ireland were 102 per cent above the level seen on the equivalent Saturday of 2019.

Figures for last Saturday (November 21st) show seated diner reservations across the State were 95 per cent higher than the same Saturday in 2019.

Restaurants in Dublin had 59 per cent more diners last Saturday compared to the equivalent pre-pandemic day.

Compared with other major cities, the capital's restaurants are seeing a much stronger recovery from lockdown. Reservations in London, New York and Berlin are all still down on their pre-pandemic levels.

It comes as public health officials have urged people to cut back their social contacts in recent weeks amid increasing coronavirus infections and pressure on the health service.

Last week, the Government introduced a set of fresh measures it hopes will slow the spread of Covid.

This includes a midnight closing time for restaurants, pubs and nightclubs. People are also being asked to work from home if possible.

It will take several days for health officials to be able to say if the new measures are having the desired effect and if Ireland can avoid the return of tougher restrictions, which have not been ruled out by Taoiseach Micheál Martin.

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