26 Jun 2022

Longford publicans left out in cold as indoor dining row grows

Longford publicans left out in cold as indoor dining row grows

Michael Murphy and his daughter Davina behind the counter in Murph's Bar this week

Longford publicans have heaped fresh pressure on government bosses to devise a “clear roadmap” for the long awaited return of indoor hospitality.

Local vintners representatives reacted with fury this week after Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed that most indoor socialising will remain off the menu for several more weeks.

Longford publican Michael Murphy of Murph's Bar, said the decision was one which has left an industry already struggling to regroup from 16 months of enforced closure, in limbo.

“There is no roadmap and there is no clear indication as to when we can (reopen indoor hospitality),” he said.

A bar owner for more than two decades, Mr Murphy said there were concerns among industry officials over how the Government planned to proceed with the continued reopening of hospitality services.

He said the mooted introduction of rapid antigen tests to screen people for Covid-19 as well as a new vaccine ID system for indoor dining had raised more questions than answers.

“We don't know how it will work,” he said.

“Will it be this new testing system or will they be allowing fully vaccinated people only to come inside.

“It just looks like it is going to be very hard to manage.”

Those anxieties were given further credence over the weekend with senior vitners officials demanding social distancing be scrapped for indoor dining if vaccine passes are introduced.

Under the current Covid-19 restrictions, tables must be kept two metres apart if customers are staying longer than 105 minutes.

For the likes of Mr Murphy, the return to indoor services can't come soon enough.

“We are only just ticking over with the outdoor,” he said.

Chairman of Longford Vitners Association Gerry Lynn wasted little time in underlining those sentiments.

“I don't know where we (publicans) are really at,” he said.“When you look at it, these are people's liveihoods which are at stake and it just looks like nobody cares.

“It's a feeling which a lot of especially rural publicans share.”

Those comments come as talk intensifies around the speculated introduction of digital Covid Certificates.

To continue reading this article for FREE,
please kindly register and/or log in.

Registration is absolutely 100% FREE and will help us personalise your experience on our sites. You can also sign up to our carefully curated newsletter(s) to keep up to date with your latest local news!

Register / Login

Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.

Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.