Restaurateur adopts wait-and-see approach
Restaurants and bars moved into the “new normal” this week, but it will not be until later that the impact of a relaxation of Covid-19 rules can be assessed.
Chris Garland, the general manager of Harbourside Holdings, which owns Flanagan’s Irish Pub and Restaurant on Front Street, said the business enjoyed a steady opening day on Wednesday.
But he warned it would not be until the end of the next couple of months that the sector would have a better idea of what Phase 4 of the return to normal life would mean for the industry’s bottom lines.
Mr Garland said: “It’s a hard one for us because we’ve not been a massive drinking bar during our period of ownership.
“What we have seen already is some of our regulars who prefer to sit at the bar have come in and been able to do so. That’s been the main thing we noticed.
“Until we have a couple of evenings of business, we won’t really know what level of interest there is.”
He asked customers to do their part and follow the guidelines provided.
Mr Garland added: “The safety of our staff and customers is very important to all restaurateurs and I ask that we as a community continue to do our part to follow the guidelines.”
Mr Garland said that the introduction of al fresco dining in Phase 3 was a vital concession to the industry and helped bring many staff back to work.
He said: “It gave us a lifeline to get going sooner than we thought.
“We were able to expand our space thanks to our close relationship with Butterfield Bank and that has given us the ability to bring in almost 100 per cent of our full-time employees.”
But Mr Garland predicted it would take longer for part-time work opportunities to return.
He said: “One of the things the employment figures don’t really show is, how many part-time jobs are going to be lost.
“There are a lot of people who work part-time in the busy season and there are a lot of second-job people — they are going to be struggling.”
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