Implementing indoor dining measures is too stressful - restaurant and cafe owners
Some of the most high profile cafes and restaurants in the Nenagh district have decided against opening for indoor dining, despite the measure getting the all clear from government from last Monday.
Proprietors said the requirements were too difficult and likely to be unpopular to implement, and they did not want to be turning away loyal unvaccinated customers from their doors.
They said they also took the decision because of fears for younger staff members, many of whom are not yet vaccinated.
Among the establishments which decided not to allow indoor dining are The Pantry and Cinnamon Alley in Nenagh, Reidy’s Bar and Skyfarmers Restaurant in Newtown and The Whiskey Still bar and restaurant in Dromineer, while the Thatched Cottage in Ballycommon is to allow only partial reintroduction.
Meanwhile, several other pubs and restaurants in the locality did reopen for indoor dining last Monday after almost 500 days of closure for some establishments.
It followed the move by government to allow fully vaccinated or those who had contracted Covid-19 and their children to dine indoors from Monday of this week.
Gráinne Moylan, proprietor of The Pantry restaurant in Quintin’s Way in Nenagh, was one of those who decided against such a move.
“Basically it was going to be too stressful and I was quite stressed thinking about it to be honest with you,” Ms Moylan told The Guardian.
She said the regulations published by government last Friday night would necessitate putting a staff member on the entrance door fulltime to police the situation. “And because I have a local trade I felt it would be very impersonal to be asking people for their proof of identity and their vaccination certs,” said Ms Moylan.
Issues such as spacing requirements between tables and the implications of allowing unvaccinated children in to her restaurant also weighed heavily on her.
“Everything went through my mind on the whole stressful side of it, and of course I have eight to nine staff under the age of 30 that are still not vaccinated themselves.
“I just kind of feel the government are making up the rules on a week-to-week basis and now they have passed the buck back on to restaurant owners, saying ‘ye police it, ye deal with it now that ye’re open’.”
Ms Moylan said she was happy for now to continue operating her existing takeaway and outdoor dining services.
“We can seat 30 outside and we are trying to do that properly with sanitising. I’d prefer to operate on half capacity and run these services properly for now and have everybody in a safer environment.
“Now that I have made my decision I’m happy with it and I don’t have to be awake at night looking at the ceiling worrying. We all have people who have been sick from getting the virus and I think when it happens to you personally, you realise the seriousness of it,” said Ms Moylan, who revealed that some of her closest family members had contracted Covid.
Bobby Reidy of Reidy’s Bar and Skyfarmers Restaurant in Newtown was another who opted not to reopen for indoor dining. “I’m still worried about the numbers of infections rising and I would have concerns for my younger staff who are not yet vaccinated,” he said.
Operating as a rural publican for over four decades, Mr Reidy said he knew everyone in the community and he didn’t wish to leave himself and his staff open to discontent from his loyal unvaccinated customers by having to police the new indoor measures and bar their entry to his premises.
“When families come in you don’t want to make an issue of it,” he said, referring to the fact that proprietors were being forced to ask customers to produce proof of identity and vaccination records.