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No workers at the inn – staff shortages severely impacts the Limerick pub trade

Due to Covid-19, many Limerick businesses have been forced to close for days, if not the entire month of January.

The 8pm closing time, coupled with staff absences due to contracting Covid-19, has forced many county and city pubs to temporarily close.

McGrath’s Bar in Kilfinane closed for a week over Christmas due to staff positive cases.

Pat McGrath, the owner, said he knows of seven or eight other local pubs that close during the busiest season.

“Kilfinane’s three pubs were closed for a week. It has a huge impact on us. We had to close because five out of six staff had it.

“People are afraid to go out now because the
Brian Foley, VFI Communications and Public Affairs Manager, said that roughly 2,000 pubs across the country have had to close or reduce hours of operation.

“December is usually when they make hay and prepare for St Patrick’s Day, but pubs had a bad December.”

“It’s very bleak right now,” said Paul Flannery, Vintners Federation of Ireland representative in Limerick.

“Many pubs are finding it difficult to pay operational and wage costs. Who will leave work at 5 p.m. on weekdays to go out for 30 minutes to an hour? They can’t open until the restrictions are lifted and the 8pm curfew is lifted, so they’ve decided to close.

“Like everyone else we have had people who have been out but there hasn’t been a huge spike,” said Elaina Fitzgerald Kane of Fitzgerald’s Woodlands House Hotel in Adare.

“We had some smaller weddings and people getting away for breaks,” she said. We didn’t have as many large family events as usual.”