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Pubs are preparing to re-open their doors

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John Duggan

John Duggan

John Duggan

The Martello and the Harbour Bar will be among those pubs to open again on Monday, June 29, with certain restrictions in place.

Business will be somewhat different to pre-coronavirus days. There will be no late nights at the Martello, and booking is advised for both premises.

One of the proprietors John Duggan said that they have yet to make a decision on when to re-open Box Burger and Platform to dine-in guests.

The kitchens are currently taken up with delivery business, something which could change as other restaurants and pubs open their doors. 'We can switch the model very quickly,' said John,

On the pubs specifically, he said that they are very busy currently with preparations.

'Staff are in getting things ready, cleaning is being done and bedrooms are being prepared for guests,' he said.

Managers are in prepping, stock is being ordered, and training is set to get under way this week.

'The response from staff has been very positive,' said John. 'Every member of staff is looking to come back,' he said. 'I though some may decide to do something different, but they're all returning,' he said.

He said many of the workers are looking forward to seeing their friends, interacting with people, and having some level of normality.

While pre-booking isn't a requirement as such, he said it's advisable, as there may simply not be a table available, particularly at busy weekend times. If there is availability, walk-ins will be accommodated.

A time limit of 105 minutes will apply to patrons, who will need to provide contact information for one of the party to facilitate contact tracing if necessary. 'We have to take this extremely seriously and we're making sure everyone knows that,' said John. He said that the mask is now part of the uniform for everyone.

For the trade overall, he said that some will struggle to re-open.

'We've been very lucky, we've had the Ocean block in our family since the 60s and the Martello for 22 years. Others could have massive mortgages. A lot of people are financially under pressure and might not re-open,' he said. 'Some people who are leasing or who bought at a high point in the market are in a worse position. We don't know what people's particular circumstances are. It's very very tough for some people.' John said that the logistics of re-opening take a large amount of work. 'You're kick-starting everything again, from deliveries, to the cold-room, to training and much more. There's so much going on behind the scenes. There's an awful lot involved in getting ready again.'

As for the future of trade for those who do open either on June 29, or the next phase, there are uncertainties.

'People's habits may change,' said John. 'Are people going to come back out? Families or people in the older age profile might not be in a rush to come in. Some people will have lost their jobs. Others will decide they just want to change their habits and don't want to go to the pub every weekend.'

He said that he and other members of the Licensed Vintners Association are determined to make sure they do things the right way as they invite the public into their premises once again.

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