Restaurant trade 'not viable' in winter under new Covid-19 restrictions

Martin Shanahan of Fishy Fishy in Kinsale: 'We’re going into the winter season, would you like to book a table outside tonight and be blown away by the wind and the rain? 
Restaurant trade 'not viable' in winter under new Covid-19 restrictions

Martin Shanahan of Fishy Fishy in Kinsale, Co Cork. Picture: Dan Linehan

The owner of a popular Cork restaurant has suggested that, under level 3 Covid-19 restrictions, it may not be viable for him to keep his doors open into the winter months.

Martin Shanahan, owner of the popular seafood restaurant Fishy Fishy in Kinsale, said it was not a "viable" option for him to continue to operate under further restrictions.

From midnight tonight, Ireland will move to level 3 of the Government's 'Living with Covid' plan

Under level three, additional restrictions on bars and restaurants come into effect.

Indoor dining will be prohibited, but outdoor dining and takeaway meals will be allowed to continue.

“We’re going into the winter season. Would you like to book a table outside tonight and be blown away by the wind and the rain?" Mr Shanahan asked, speaking on Newstalk.

Mr Shanahan suggested that restaurants had suffered disproportionately as a result of lockdown measures imposed earlier this year.

I’m asking the question here: what did I do wrong? As a restaurateur, and my staff, what did we do wrong?

Asked whether he had considered operating a takeaway service in Fishy Fishy, Mr Shanahan said he didn't think such a move would be successful.

"It wasn’t viable in the earlier lockdown, and I don’t think it would be viable now,” he said. 

Mr Shanahan said, as the owner and proprietor of his business, he had responsibility for his staff and their families, and that this was his priority.

"Will we open over the winter? I think we won’t," he added.

Mr Shanahan's comments echo those of many other hospitality sector business across Munster and Ireland.

Yesterday, hospitality chiefs said the move to level 3 of restrictions could cost nearly 230,000 people their jobs. 

The Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) and the Vintners' Federation of Ireland (VFI) each said the decision would devastate businesses they represent.

RAI CEO Adrian Cummins said the announcement of nationwide restrictions would be likely to cause an “economic meltdown” for restaurants and the hospitality sector in general.

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