PUBLICANS across Limerick are experiencing cancellations in the wake of the new Covid-19 measures, says the local Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) representative.
Paul Flannery, of Flannery's Pub in Shannon Street, was speaking after An Taoiseach Micheál Martin announced a raft of fresh restrictions in a bid to control Covid-19 case numbers.
In terms of the hospitality sector, an earlier closing time of midnight is in place for pubs, nightclubs and restaurants, in force from midnight on Thursday. This will, in effect, prevent nightclubs from operating.
From Friday, company bosses are asking their staff to work at home where possible, with Mr Martin saying we are now into a "fourth surge" of Covid-19 cases.
As a result of last night's directive, Mr Flannery says publicans across Limerick have already received phone calls from people cancelling Christmas celebrations.
"From Monday morning, the phones were ringing for places which had been taking bookings with people cancelling their Christmas parties. Is that going to get worse? Is it going to stabilise? Nphet don't want to see people socialising. There is just huge uncertainty and confusion, and what's next is the big question," he said.
"Where is the end, when can we get back to normality," he asked, "Are the boosters going to be rolled out to the entire population which in my view would be the obvious option. It would help reduce hospitalisation of ICU beds, which is where the real issue is in terms of getting the health service out of the pressure zone it's looking like it' going into."
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly this morning refused to rule out full lockdown measures if Covid-19 cases continue to rise.
The Limerick Chamber chief executive Dee Ryan said this would be "too much to contemplate" for local retailers.
"They have put their heart and soul into keeping their businesses afloat over the last couple of years, they have pivoted. They have introduced new ways of doing business they've never ventured into before. If we hear despite their best efforts, despite mass vaccination across the country, and despite a remote working order, there are still restrictions on movements required and a lockdown of any description, it would really be devastating," she told the Limerick Leader.
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