A LIMERICK publican has described the government’s Coronavirus plans around reopening the country as a joke, and has pledged to open his public house from Monday.
Gearoid Whelan, proprietor of Whelan’s Bar, in Newcastle West, Co Limerick has tweeted his frustration at the government’s decision to delay moving to phase four of the roadmap to reopen the country.
Pubs not offering meals will not be permitted to reopen until August 10th, as fears spread of a second wave of the virus.
The country was due to move to the fourth and final phase of the roadmap to lift lockdown restrictions on Monday, July 20th.
On July 14th, Mr Whelan tweeted: “4 months closed today and the airports are open, farcical😡. @MichealMartinTD @VFIpubs @LVADublinPubs.”
Advertising his intention to open from July 20th, Mr Whelan continued: “I wil b opening my pub on Monday 20th July, I could have opened the 29th june but felt at d time it wasnt the right thing to do, if we are opening our borders to epicentres of covid I’m opening my door to our customers and we will provide a safe & clean environment for a social 🍺.”
The continuation of flights into Ireland from countries badly impacted by coronavirus has led to a backlash here, after the government asked Irish people not to holiday abroad over fears they would bring COVID-19 back onto the island.
Mr Whelan went on: “250 people landing in this country on a daily basis from USA, an epicentre of Covid, and im being advised to keep my pub closed in west limerick, where we have had only a handful of cases in 4 months (thank god) , enough is enough, @MichealMartinTD.”
Mr Whelan has estimated he has spent around €3,000 introducing social distancing measures at his pub.
During the lockdown period he was forced to lay off all his staff and put on hold overheads such as payments to drinks suppliers, TV providers.
His main concern has been insurance premiums.
Today he confirmed he would reopen on July 20th, despite the government’s wishes.
“We will b open at 11am monday morning👍🏼. Thanks for all the support. If a Texan can come into Ireland and go where he likes our door is open to our customers who we have served for almost 70 years👍🏼,” Mr Whelan continued.
“Family run and 100% safe environment. Looking forward to seeing our friends🍺👍🏼. If the Airports remain open I WILL b opening Whelans Bar on Monday 20th July with or without government approval,” he added.
“As I said earlier its farcical the way we are being treated @MichealMartinTD @DonnellyStephen @simoncoveney.”