Longford town's hospitality industry is facing an uncertain next number of days amid increasing speculation tighter restrictions are on the way in a bid to stem the tide of Covid-19
Restaurant bosses have warned of "utter devastation" if the sector is once again forced to close due to a sudden surge in coronavirus cases.
Government chiefs are expected to receive new recommendations from National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) officials after the body meets later to discuss the rising threat posed by the Omicron variant.
Now, local industry representatives have broken their silence on the likely fallout which will result if tighter restrictions are enforced on the county's already beleaguered hospitality sector.
"Absolutely, it would be (devastating)," replied Lisa Vocella of Longford town Italian restaurant Vocella's when contacted by longfordleader.ie this evening.
"We just want to know where we stand as we are kind of in limbo at the minute. We are allowed to be open, but then they (government) are telling people to cut back on going out."
Ms Vocella said the growing public message for patrons to stay at home and reduce socialisation levels has already led to around two thirds of the local eatery's Christmas parties being cancelled.
"It's very hard to staff and stock a place at this time of year. This time last year when we were in lockdown we were allowed to reopen and though we knew we were going back (into lockdown) at least there was a bit of a buzz around, but this year it's different."
It was a similar scenario at Harvey's Bar and Restaurant in Longford town.
"We are all so disappointed," said a spokesperson, in response to heightening speculation surrounding the hospitality industry.
"Of course it will be (devastating if asked to close) as these are the next few weeks which would usually help you get through January and February."
The concerns aired by local restaurant representatives follow comments made by Taoiseach Micheal Martin earlier today who warned that a “very significant wave” of the Omicron wave was coming.
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