LIMERICK city centre was hopping with delighted customers and diners at the weekend as Covid-19 restrictions were lifted, opening hours went back to normal and vaccination certs were no longer required.
Publican Michael McMahon of Mother Mac’s bar on High Street in the city told the Limerick Post that staff and customers “were delighted. We have the counter back with no barriers or dividers and the counter is the heart of any pub”.
He said that far from restrictions which required just six people sitting in groups “there were groups of a dozen or more”.
“People were mingling freely and there was a sense of being able to chat in groups, move around and catch up after the last two years.
“We don’t need to ask everyone for certs or details any more. There were a lot of intricate restrictions like how many people over the age of 18 and how many under that age could sit at one table and how many family groups were allowed to stay together. We had to ask a lot of strange questions these last two years, many of them we didn’t want to ask.
“But hopefully that is all behind us now. Music is back, people are back, the bar is humming and that’s the way a bar should be,” he said
Meanwhile hoteliers are optomistic even if some customers are still a little hesitant in booking events.
Dermot Kelly, chairman of the Mid West Branch of the Irish Hoteliers Federation said that owners and staff are “breathing a sigh of relief.”
He said that there was a “great atmosphere” in the city, where he manages the South Court and in his own hotel, the Silver Springs in Shannon, where people are delighted to be able to socialise and dine out again.
“We are getting enquires now about communion and confirmation events and a lot of people are hoping to have other family events as they have had to defer so many.”
In terms of bed nights, he said there are quite a number of group tours booked in for April and May.
“A lot will depend on what is happening in the countries they are coming from but hopefully, those countries will also be opening up now.”