RESTAURANTS'CURFEWANGER; Coronavirus Crisis Owners Say 11pm Closing Will Lead to Job Losses

Daily Mail (London), August 6, 2020 | Go to article overview

RESTAURANTS'CURFEWANGER; Coronavirus Crisis Owners Say 11pm Closing Will Lead to Job Losses


Byline: Ian Begley

RESTAURANT owners around the country have said the new 11pm curfew is a 'major insult' to their sector and will risk tens of thousands of jobs.

From Monday, restaurants and pubs serving food will have to close at 11pm, a decision which has been described in the industry as 'illogical'.

The Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) is seeking an urgent meeting with Taoiseach Micheal Martin in a desperate bid to reverse the new rule.

It believes the Government has cut more than an hour of trading time from already-struggling restaurants, which normally close at between midnight and 1am.

The RAI also believes the curfew will encourage people to flock to impromptu house parties.

John Healy, general manager at Suesey Street restaurant in Dublin, said of the new curfew: 'It's ridiculous and doesn't make sense whatsoever.

'The majority of restaurants are able to maintain social distancing so the chances of picking up Covid-19 is very unlikely.

'The Government's announcement couldn't have come at a worse time, especially since there's very little footfall in Dublin city centre at the moment. I know Leo Varadkar doesn't like putting labels on things, but what has been enforced is a curfew.

'I would like to know why we must close at 11pm because there are usually very few people in restaurants at this time, leaving no one in danger. I couldn't possibly see the harm in pushing the curfew to an extra 30 minutes.

'Friday and Saturday are the only two nights that restaurants can push their revenue up a little, but now we're going to find that extremely difficult.' He went on: 'When you look at the spread of this virus, it's not coming from restaurants, but from large gatherings.

'The vast majority of restaurants have been doing everything by the book, but now we're being tarred with the one brush since a few cowboys had flouted the guidelines. It's a major insult to us all.' Rural restaurants have also described the new curfew as 'ludicrous'.

Stephane Magaud, proprietor and chef at French restaurant Montmartre in Sligo, said he got onto the Taoiseach's department to ask 'what scientific evidence they had' to back up this new rule.

'It seems totally ludicrous to think that closing your restaurant at 11pm will somehow reduce the chances of catching this virus,' he told the Irish Daily Mail.

'It's much easier to follow all the health guidelines in a restaurant rather than a pub because customers are seated for the majority of their stay. What I don't think the Government realises is the true impact that this new measure will have. People are going to lose their jobs and livelihoods over a curfew that doesn't even make sense,' he fumed.

Paul Regan, owner of Dillons Bar & Restaurant in Ballina, Co. Mayo, said he also can't understand the reasoning behind the decision. 'People come in and sit at a table, only getting up occasionally to go to the bathroom. …

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