Leading footballing publicans Paul Geaney and David Tubridy have warned that any holiday-makers visiting their tourist areas this week are taking major risks.
The Kerry and Clare forwards own pubs in Dingle and Doonbeg and would normally embrace an influx of people.
The Tubridy family also run a caravan park but they have closed the facility as they follow the coronavirus protocols.
Easter weekend would usually be the start of the tourist season but Geaney knows how much the Dingle Peninsula is already stretched for resources.
“We’re down to the bare bones of a service down here. Three shops in the town along with the petrol stations are at full capacity and the GAA clubs are rowing in to help with deliveries,” he said.
“Extra people in Dingle puts serious pressure on the people who are here full-time. Dingle is not built for that even in the summer when we struggle because we don’t have the capacity to house labour.
“I wouldn’t be going out and saying to people to not be coming down to their holiday homes but they have to keep in mind there are 2,500 people here and the services are strained as it is. If there is an outbreak here you’re talking about people being in real danger.
Say if somebody is critical in Ballyferriter, it’s about an hour and 20 minutes into Tralee to be treated. There’s a lot of risk in coming down.
“Dingle will be here in August, September and this time next year. People just have to make sensible decisions.
“People who have holiday homes might say there are self-isolating in them but they still have to shop and they’re coming in contact with people. We would love to see everyone in the future but you would nearly plead with them for the time being to hold tough.”
Tubridy saw an online photograph of the posters circulating in nearby Kilkee calling on those with holiday homes in the beachside town to stay away. “It’s not great putting language in things like that,” he said.
Michael Vaughan, the Lahinch hotelier, was on TV the other day and he spoke very well. Hopefully, the message gets out and people listen to it and give us a bit of help around here.
The Tubridys informed those who own mobile homes in their park that they could not use them.
“Missing out on Bank Holiday weekends is tough. Our caravan park would usually be filling up at this time of the year and at the moment my father (Tommy) has his van parked in front of the entrance. We’ve let everybody know it’s closed and thank God they’re listening to that and they haven’t come down.
In more ways than one, it’s a sobering time for those in the tourist pub industry.
“We have never had the bar closed for this long and I think it will go on for a nice bit more, I’d say, as we try to get on top of things and, as they say, flatten out the curve,” Tubridy conceded.
“The (Trump International) golf course beside us here is also closed and we get a lot of business out of that and that will take a big hit throughout the year. We’re between Lahinch and Kilkee and usually we’d get a lot of traffic as part of the Wild Atlantic Way.
“It might pick up later in the summer but it’s still going to be a massive hit as people are still going to be afraid to wander outside their houses.”