Hospitality sector ‘scapegoat’ of public's pandemic behaviour, owner says

Hospitality Sector ‘Scapegoat’ Of Public's Pandemic Behaviour, Owner Says
He said hospitality businesses had gone out of their way to exercise social distancing and train staff. Photo: PA.
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By Vivienne Clarke

The owner of a gastropub has said his sector has been scapegoated under Covid-19 restrictions when it is people's behaviour that is responsible for a rise in cases.

Dermot McDonnell, of the Cross Guns gastropub in Navan, Co Meath told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that closing down his business again was “a very hard pill to swallow” with knock-on effects for local suppliers.


“Tough calls” would have to be made today to suppliers, he said, who he would have to ask to take back their produce.

Mr McDonnell said he was resigned to the fact that his business will close under new restrictions set to be announced on Tuesday, but it had already been an extremely tough year.

We don’t know when we will open again

While he accepted that socialisation led to the spread of virus, hospitality businesses had gone out of their way to exercise social distancing, to train staff and to keep customers safe.

“Gastropubs have been scapegoated when really it is people’s behaviour in general that is the problem.”

He said his staff had been rostered, his fridges were full of fresh produce and he was now going to have to phone customers to cancel their bookings.

“We know we will have to close, but we don’t know when we will open again,” he said.

It comes as Level 5 restrictions are currently under discussion at a Cabinet meeting this morning, following advice from public health officials.

Restaurants and gastropubs are expected to be told to close on Christmas Eve under plans going to Cabinet.

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