some bars wary about indoor reopening 

While many in the hospitality sector are making their final preparations to return to indoor dining from Monday, there is a growing minority that intend to wait a little longer before they return to full capacity.

Many of these say they are doing so on the basis that their staff, many of whom are in younger cohorts, are still awaiting vaccinations.

West-Café & Wine Bar in Bantry made the decision to not reopen indoors a number of weeks ago, and are sticking to their guns.

Chris Heinhold, who owns and runs the popular spot with and Emer Kelly, explained his decision.

“We made the decision a couple of weeks ago that we weren’t going to reopen indoor dining. The guidelines were very slow coming out. I think, still, there is a bit of confusion over them, and people are meant to be opening on Monday,” Mr Heinhold said.

“We are in a lucky position where we have some outside space, so we decided to stick with what we are doing for now, and see how that goes,” he added.

Mr Heinhold said the decision came from a combination of wanting to protect their staff, as well as not wanting to pry into customers’ medical history.

“The majority of us are not vaccinated,” said Mr Heinhold, referring to his staff.

“I’ve only had my second dose today [Thursday] so it will be a week before I am considered vaccinated. I haven’t asked my younger staff members if they are vaccinated, and it definitely isn’t something I want to be asking customers.”

Benny McCabe outside his Rising Sun Brewery and Bar on Coal Quay, Cork: ‘We have taken a view for some time now that it is unfair to have unvaccinated staff serving people indoors, and yet they can’t have a pint themselves in another pub.’ Picture: Dan Linehan

Cork publican Benny McCabe, who runs a number of pubs across Cork including the Crane Lane Theatre and Mutton Lane, announced this week he will be waiting a few more weeks to reopen his bars for indoor drinking and dining. 

“We have taken a view for some time now that it is unfair to have unvaccinated staff serving people indoors, and yet they can’t have a pint themselves in another pub. As the portal for 18-to-24-year-olds is now open, we will wait a while longer to reopen our pubs indoors and will continue with outdoor service.”

Rory O'Neill, owner of Pantibar in Dublin: 'I don’t want people to come into the bar who have not been vaccinated.' Picture: Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie

Rory O’Neill, owner of Pantibar in Dublin: ‘I don’t want people to come into the bar who have not been vaccinated.’ Picture: Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie

The country’s best-known gay bar, Pantibar in Dublin, will be following the same line.

Proprietor Rory O‘Neill told RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne he was not risk-averse, he was vaccinated, fit and healthy, but that very few of his young staff had been fully vaccinated.

Mr O’Neill said the decision had been his, that his staff had not requested the move.

“I feel bad for people who cannot avail of the vaccine. If you choose not to get the vaccine, then you have to live with the consequences. I don’t want people to come into the bar who have not been vaccinated,” Mr O’Neil said.

The Bulman bar and restaurant in Kinsale will also take a similar approach.

“While our hard-working and brilliant young workforce remains unvaccinated, we at the Bulman have decided to remain as an outdoor dining and drinks venue until further notice,” they said in a tweet. 

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