WATCH: Happy Monday in Limerick as pubs, restaurants, hotels and barbers re-open

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Email:

nick@limerickleader.ie

IT'S been a very happy Monday in Limerick as many of the remaining parts of the economy closed due to Covid-19 re-opened.

Pubs serving food, cafes and restaurants, hotels, hairdressers and beauty salons were all allowed to re-open today.

But they must all abide by strict public health measures, and wear protective equipment under certain circumstances.

Hospitality traders are hoping for a bumper week as people return to their regular haunts.

Cathal Callanan of the Glen Tavern pub in Glentworth Street said: "Customers have taken to it fairly well. Everybody is well aware of what they should be doing after so much time locked down, and you can see people back here enjoying the pub which is what we want."

From the bar's re-opening after six weeks, at 10am this morning, Cathal reported regulars returning to the premises.

"They are all very supportive. They want to be back in and are glad to see us back in. There's been a lot of thanks," he added.

Among the first punters back in the pub was Brian Price, who said enjoying his first draught pint of Guinness in six weeks was like "being born again".

"It's fantastic. It's like a return to normality more than anything. We've been inside having our hair cut, and we're making a bit of a day of it," he said, "It's the first Guinness in quite a while. It's like the mother's milk!"

Elsewhere, the George Boutique Hotel in Lower Shannon Street opened again today, with chefs back by the pizza oven at Da Vicenzo Restaurant.

General manager Altaf Khan said: "We're delighted to be back, we're delighted to open the doors today.. It's an eciting day for us. Our phone hasn't stopped ringing. We're delighted to see our regulars back in again and they are delighted to support us. The community has been extraordinary."

In cafes, pubs and bars, the two-metre physical distancing rules remains in place, unless this is not possible, in which case these businesses are allowed implement a one-metre rule in controlled environments, once other risk mitigation requirements have been met.

However, customers will only be able to spend a maximum of one hour and 45 minutes in a pub and they must buy a "substantial" meal worth at least €9.

Niall Colgan, Niall Colgan Hairdressers says he has been "flat to the pump" since he re-opened today.

"Delighted to be back though," he added.

All remaining retail outlets, such as bookmakers for example, as well as other services and commercial activities, can also resume.

On the culture and tourism front, museums, galleries, theatres and concert halls, as well as cinemas, music venues, bingo halls and arcades can restart business.

However, nightclubs and discos must remain shut for now.

Those learning to drive can start taking lessons again and driving testing is also to resume.

But despite the loosening of restrictions, Government Return to Work Safely Protocols remain in place and anyone who can work from home should continue to do so wherever possible.

Many businesses will also not be reopening their doors today because it is no longer viable for them to trade.

Masses, services and gatherings for worship have also recommenced.