Ireland

WATCH: 'Rainbow of emotion' as Limerick publicans prepare to re-open after six-month lockdown

PUBLICANS across Limerick are making their final preparations to re-open their doors for the first time in six months.

From tomorrow, bars only serving alcohol will be able to welcome customers for the first time since the Covid-19 lockdown commenced in March.

While restaurants and bars serving food were allowed to open from the end of June, dozens of pubs which were unable to offer a "substantial meal" remained shuttered.

Since the re-opening date was confirmed by the Government, staff have been rehired and have been trained as new, stricter hygiene measures will apply such as social distancing and table service only.

Staff will also have to either wear personal protective face masks or remain behind perspex screens protecting the bar area.

Most public houses have also undergone significant changes in order to ensure that social distancing is respected. There will also be a limit on the number of customers allowed in pubs at any one time.

While many pubs in Limerick city will open from mid-morning to lunchtime, more rural bars may not open to their regular customers until after 6pm tomorrow, as has always been the way.

Speaking to the Leader, Rocky O'Shea of The Commercial Bar on Catherine Street said he may open a bit earlier due to demand from his regulars.

"We'd normally open at 12.30pm, but we might open a little bit earlier because we've had so many people asking us. We were out cleaning yesterday, and the amount of people who were asking us if we were back open... I don't know how we are going to fit everyone. But obviously, we will respect social distancing," he said.

So-called 'wet houses' are allowed to open as Limerick has been placed at level two in the new national framework for living with Covid-19.

Groups of six from up to three households are allowed to congregate, according to the advice.

Every county in Ireland outside of Dublin is subject to these rules, with the capital placed on a higher level three rating.

It means restaurants and pubs there are only permitted to offer takeaway service and outdoor dining.

Last night, a further five confirmed cases of Covid-19 were reported in Limerick.

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