‘Government keeping bars shut for no reason’
THE owner of one of Ireland’s most famous pubs has criticised the Government for creating a “folly” that “pubs cause the virus” during the Covid-19 crisis.
Tom Cleary, owner of the Temple Bar in Dublin, is concerned over rumblings the Government will again row back on the opening of so-called ‘wet’ pubs – those which don’t serve food – on August 10. He said there was a risk bars would “go bust”.
“Offices are closed, there’s no tourists, Dublin city centre is dead. The Health Minister and civil servants are detached from reality,” he said. “The rumours are the pubs won’t be allowed to open on August 10, that it’ll be pushed back due to an increase in cases. That’s unfair. We were closed for months, so it’s not our fault there are more cases.
“The Government needs to look at house parties and excessive drinking from drinks bought in off-licences and supermarkets.
“Pubs offer a controlled environment to drink in. Our pub is licensed for 600 people, so we can easily cut it to 150 and have relaxed social distancing for people and staff.
“Let us sign up to that and open up. We have two beer gardens, an outdoor seating area. It’s a folly that pubs are causing the virus. The Government is keeping us closed without reason.”
Mr Cleary said there needed to be more emphasis on masks and ensuring social distancing, instead of the Government “kicking pubs in the teeth”.
And he labelled some pubs serving food, which opened in recent weeks, as “pretend restaurants”.
“Some of them are pretending to serve [food]. It’s a ridiculous situation,” he said.