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Forced closures would ‘bury’ bars, restaurants

Forced closures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 would “bury” Bermudian restaurants unless they receive support, a Chamber of Commerce member and restaurant co-owner warned yesterday.

Chris Garland, the general manager of Flanagan's Irish Pub and Restaurant in Hamilton, predicted a prolonged closure would shutter some businesses for good.

He added: “If they force a complete closure, it will bury us.

“We were already in a down economy. We were already in trying times.”

Mr Garland said restaurants would need major assistance from several sectors to survive prolonged closure.

He added: “We would need the support of our landlord in terms of relief on rent, we would need the support of the country to ease back on payment terms that we would certainly fall behind on.

“We will need the support of our suppliers. Some of the food companies may need to cut their side of the profits down for a few months.”

Mr Garland said banks would have to help bail out the sector as well.

He added: “I don't want to hear about reduced interest rates. Support doesn't come in the form of interest.

“I don't want to hear that they made money out of this.”

Mr Garland and other members of the restaurant division of the Chamber of Commerce met yesterday to discuss the problems caused by Covid-19.

He said that the division would approach the Government with details of what support they might need if they were ordered to close.

Mr Garland said trade at Flanagan's has been a little slower than usual, but that the Outback Sports Bar was closed for most of the weekend.

He said: “We opened the Outback Sports Bar for a few hours, but it was a waste of time.

“It's a sports bar, but there are no sports.”

Mr Garland added that today was St Patrick's Day, traditionally a huge earner for the bar.

However, he said: “We will be limiting numbers to 50 people at a time.

“We are following the recommendations from the Government.

“We will also have 50 people in Outback and we hope to have more on the patio, as it is outside.”

Flanagan's owners Chris Garland, right, and Deon Mills

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Published March 17, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated March 19, 2020 at 6:34 pm)

Forced closures would ‘bury’ bars, restaurants

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