Cathal Callanan at the Glen Tavern, which re-opens this morning
HUNDREDS of people across Limerick are back at work today as pubs serving food, restaurants, hotels and hairdressers can trade fully.
Today marks the third phase of the government roadmap to re-opening businesses and businesses will be implementing strict measures to ensure social distancing is maintained.
Welcome back hairdressers pic.twitter.com/uxQe1woHfy— Jan O'Sullivan (@JanOSullivanTD) June 29, 2020
Hairdresser Niall Colgan will be opening 12-hours a day, seven days a week for at least the next 21 days after over 4,000 people booked appointments. It means he’s been able to bring back all 20 staff to his O’Callaghan Strand Salon.
“They’ll be flat to the pump,” Niall said, “We've picked up where we left off. Our reception hasn't stopped. Would you believe our phone lines died yesterday? The volume we are getting, never have we experienced that. The great thing about it is people who've waited three-and-a-half months are now prepared to wait another month.”
Niall is implementing a ‘coronavirus-free zone’ in the salon, with no signage to help his customers forget about the pandemic. That doesn’t mean measures won’t be taken, of course.
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Distancing will be maintained and aided by screens, desks covered, temperatures will be taken on arrival, and facemasks will be provided.
Elsewhere, the Glen Tavern is among dozens of city pubs serving food re-opening. Stays are limited to 105 minutes while over €9 food must be ordered.
Cathal Callanan, who will throw open the doors at 10am, said: “We're all mad to get back. A pub is nothing without its customers, and we've been closed for long enough now. Staff members will be sectioned off in different zones in the pub. There’ll be one entry and exit, one toilet, and we’ll be discouraging groups standing outside smoking.”
While last minute preparations for re-opening were taking place, staff have been on site almost every day during lockdown giving the pub an upgrade. There’s new flooring, a cooling system for drinks, new taps, while a paint job has been done on the pub.
The George Hotel – which up to lockdown had traded continually for 200 years – is back, as is the Hampton’s Restaurant, with other businesses in the Savoy group to follow.
General manager Ronan Branigan says normal hours will be maintained.
“We do feel we have a duty to the city centre to get all our doors open as quickly as possible so any visitors who do come from around the country will see Limerick at its best. It's been a hiatus for everybody in the hospitality world. Our businesses normally open 365 days a year. So any interruptions, even for a couple of days, are quite alien to us. Something lasting weeks and months is not in our DNA,” he said.