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Irish pubs closed: The Dublin bars and restaurants that cannot open for outdoor dining today

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Dublin restaurant owners have expressed frustration at not being able to reopen for indoor dining on June 2nd alongside restaurants in hotels.

Neal Magee, owner of 101 Talbot said the decision just “doesn’t make sense”.

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Neal told Dublin Live: “Big business gets looked after again and small independents are just left behind.

“Probably having stronger lobbying powers with politicians would be my opinion on it. It’s nonsensical, it’s creating a division in hospitality that’s clearly not fair.

“Even in terms of competition, they’ll end up gobbling up all of the staff and no one will have any staff by the time we’re allowed to open.”

101 Talbot Street doesn’t have space for outdoor dining and won’t be reopening on June 7th.

The Restaurant’s Association of Ireland has said that outdoor dining “is not a viable option” for 80% of cafes, restaurants and gastro pubs.

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According to Neal, the most worrying part of not having a reopening date for indoor dining is the pressure to get staff back.

He said: “It’s terrible. Even trying to get staff back now, some of them have gotten temporary jobs and we can’t even make plans because we can’t tell people when they’re back so it’s really hard at the moment.

“Some of (the staff) are from other parts of Europe and they’ve gone home and don’t know when to come back, so it´s an impossible situation.

“I can’t make people commit when I can’t even give them a date. They could end up just sitting at home for another month or two because we have no dates at all.”

Even if 101 Talbot street did have space for outdoor dining, Neal isn’t certain they would do it.

“I certainly would not say we would definitely do it if we could because with the small spaces that people do have they might fit four, five or six tables, spend lots of money on it and you’re still weather dependent. So really it’s a big gamble.

“When you’re dining out at half 8 or 9 o’clock, it’s cold out, even in the summer. It’s okay to sit and have a coffee or have a drink but with eating food, it would be freezing within five minutes.”

Margaret Beskri, manager of La Cave Wine Bar located on Anne St, also cannot reopen on June 7th due to lack of outdoor dining space.

“For us, because our business is based in a basement and first floor, we don’t have any street frontage. Even if we could put a couple of chairs and tables on the street, it really wouldn’t make financial sense for us to reopen for just a couple of weeks.

“We’re about dining, we’re a restaurant. Outdoor dining is more about coffee and tea, so we’re waiting until people can come into a restaurant and enjoy the dining experience.”

The decision making regarding the reopening of the hospitality industry is expected to take place at a Cabinet meeting next Friday, 28th May.

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