It’s a big day in Ireland’s efforts to exit Covid-19 restrictions as hospitality opens further, and gyms and swimming pools welcome back visitors.
Thousands of pubs and restaurants will reopen for the first time in five months today in line with the easing of outdoor dining and drinking.
25 people can attend a wedding celebration or reception, and 100 people can go to organised outdoor events, or 200 at venues with an accredited capacity of at least 5,000.
Owner of De Róiste’s Bar and Restaurant in Ballinderry, DJ Roche, says this day has been a long time coming:
“We’re thrilled. It’s been a long few months and even though we’ve been doing take-away it’s not the same as having the customers. And even though it won’t be the full experience of dining inside, we’ll do our level best to make it special as we were doing when open previously.
“The excitement between ourselves, the staff, and the customers calling and leaving messages this morning is fantastic.”
Gyms, swimming pools and leisure centres can also reopen for individual training only.
Co-owner of Fitness Factory in Nenagh, Graeme Quirke, says it’s great to reopen but can’t help being cautious after previous false dawns with his sector:
“I feel that we’ve been punished when if you go into a lot of the larger supermarkets – I won’t mention any names – it’s a free for all in there, in some cases no social distancing like we had, no hand sanitiser.
“And I think a lot of small businesses were punished and unfortunately I’m not as optimistic this time as I was because I think we were unfairly treated. At the same time, I am looking forward to opening up.”