23 May 2022

Kilkenny vintner slams lack of clarity on indoor dining

€35,000 was spent on Covid safety measures but still no opening date

Kilkenny vintner slams lack of clarity on indoor dining

Pat Crotty has invested thousands in ensuring safety

A local business owner has slammed the lack of clarity over re-opening for indoor dining in Ireland and is calling for all pubs and restaurants to re-open on the same date.
Pat Crotty, who owns the award-winning gastro-pub, Paris Texas on High Street has said that outdoor dining is not viable in Ireland given the inclement weather.
“Ireland doesn’t have the weather for it. What happens when you have all your staff in and your food prepped and then there is bad weather?” he asks.
Mr Crotty thinks the solution lies with policing of any breaches of regulations by gardaí and imposing closure orders on premises that refuse to comply.
“The Government needs to give gardaí proper rules in relation and let them enforce them. A breach needs to be treated like a breach of any other regulations. There needs to be clear instructions given and if there is a breach then gardaí have the power to close them. That would quickly solve any issues around safety and risk and there would be 100% compliance if people saw other places being shut down,” he said.
Although there is an outdoor space in his premises Mr Crotty says he will not be re-opening on June 7, when outdoor dining is permitted as it is not a viable option.
“Our outdoor space is not big enough to justify opening. We can’t re-open without incurring full operational costs and it makes no sense to do so.”
The popular vintner also slammed the decision by government to allow hotels to open for indoor dining from June 2.
“The €9 meal last year was a stupid, kneejerk reaction by government and the same. I think some unscrupulous hotel owners will rent rooms by the hour for close to free and people will go there for food or drinks,” he said.
At present there is no date for when indoor dining will resume although the Tanáiste Leo Varadkar has stated that it may happen in July if Covid cases remain stable.
“People working in hospitality will leave and work elsewhere if we can’t tell them when we can re-open.
“If all the risk groups are vaccinated, which they are and the numbers in hospitals and ICU continue to fall then we should all be allowed to re-open together with all the restrictions still in place to ensure the safety of our staff and customers. The hospitals are empty,” says Mr Crotty.
“We have spent thousands on screens and air filters which kill the virus and have had extra staff on for cleaning when we were open last year. We have invested hugely in doing the right thing and it has counted for nothing as we were closed anyway,” he said.
“Once we do finally re-open this has to be in. Lockdown cannot be the first and only response,” added Mr Crotty.

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