Galway has the second highest number of pubs in the country that have yet to reopen according to the Vintners Federation of Ireland, which is calling for greater clarity on reopening guidelines.
Pubs are currently due to be able to reopen with customers having to order a “substantial meal” on July 20, but that could be pushed back, as a final decision is due from the Cabinet this week.
The Vintners Federation of Ireland says that the ongoing closure of 3,499 pubs is badly affecting rural areas, with the west of Ireland hit disproportionately hard.
Galway has the second highest amount of pubs in the country which remain closed at 273, trailing behind Cork (473), and ahead of Tipperary (223), Kerry (221), Mayo (Mayo 218) and Donegal (180).
Publican Joe Sheridan, who owns Walsh’s Bar in Dunmore and is also a county councillor for the Tuam area, says he and his staff remain in limbo until the reopening guidelines are published.
“I’m completely in the dark about how we should prepare the pub for reopening,” he says.
“The guidelines are critically important for publicans who urgently need information about what work needs to be completed before we open.”
His staff want to know if and when they’ll be getting back to work Joe adds, describing the situation as “ludicrous and completely unfair” to both bar staff, and the communities they serve.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin said last week on 96FM that the planned July 20 reopening date could be pushed back if regulations are not adhered to.
In total there are 3,499 pubs in the country which remain closed due to COVID-19 restrictions according to the Vintners Federation of Ireland.
The VFI says that many of these rural pubs serve as the only place to gather or socialise in the community, but businesses still don’t have government guidelines on how to adapt to comply with regulations when they’re allowed to reopen.
“For most rural areas, the pub is far more than a place to have a drink, it’s where local communities come together,” Joe Sheridan said.
“This delay is placing so much of our local life in jeopardy and leaves many villages without lights.”