Bar owner condemns public complacency on Covid-19 amid fresh restrictions

An Armagh bar owner has hit out at public complacency about Covid-19 as fresh restrictions are introduced.

Pubs and restaurants are to close for four weeks, with the exception of takeaways and deliveries, after the level of infection soared in Northern Ireland over recent weeks.

Joanne Shilliday owns the historic Hole in the Wall bar which only reopened last month.

She said: “We all as a country need to do what we have to do.

Coronavirus – Wed Sep 23, 2020
Coronavirus – Wed Sep 23, 2020

“I completely understand that there is so much complacency with other people who are knowingly walking around after having Covid tests and spreading, other people not wearing masks.

“I have asked people to leave the bar because they are not adhering to the rules.”

Pubs that do not serve food only reopened on September 23 following the longest shutdown during the pandemic.

Ms Shilliday said she had a fresh order of stock arriving on Wednesday and did not know what she was going to say to customers and others who relied on them.

“It is not about bars being targeted, but I do not know how we will survive.

“Everyone just needs to appreciate the reality of this.”

HEALTH Coronavirus
HEALTH Coronavirus

The old building, which dates back to 1615 and originally housed the first jail in Armagh, survived the bombings and fires of the Troubles, and she said she was determined to get through coronavirus.

“It is not just us, it is the taxi drivers, it is the old people that live on their own, that have no one else but us, it is our staff.

“It is mind-blowing this morning.”

She said some people had become flippant about the risks, adding: “What happens in four weeks time if the numbers have not dropped? Do we have to remain closed? There are no guarantees.”