"We're looking at mass closures in Dublin." - The words of Daniel Smith, manager of Grogans pub on South William Street in the city centre.
In an exclusive chat with Lovin Dublin, Daniel reacted to today's decision to keep pubs that don't serve food closed in the capital. It's the fourth time that the reopening of Dublin's 'wet pubs' has been pushed back and Daniel's frustration was evident when I spoke to him earlier on.
Daniel was clear on how damaging the current situation is on Dublin as a whole, telling me that "pubs are a massive part of our culture. It's not a case of going out and getting locked. This is the only social outlet for so many people. Mortgage freezes are up at the end of the month and I really think we could be looking at mass closures."
Pubs that don't serve food were scheduled to open across Ireland on September 21 for the first time in over six months. However, due to an increase in Covid-19 cases, those based in the capital will not be joining them. Daniel said that he was "disappointed and angry" when he heard the news and added that "all we can do is wait and hope that there won't be any further restrictions.
He said that he sees "no difference between a pub that serves food and one that doesn't serve food" when it comes to public health, except for the €9 'substantial meals' that have allowed some establishments to remain open since June. While Grogans is famous for its toasties, the pub decided against reopening so as not "to rip off customers," Daniel said. However, a more food-centric menu is something they are now considering, with Daniel suggesting that they could "add a side to the toasties" just so that they can open.
Asked if he had a message for customers following the latest blow, Daniel said that he and the team are "just looking forward to welcoming them all back in a safe environment and that's something that we know we can do."
Whenever that day comes remains to be seen but for now we can all just wait for the day that we can return to famous Dublin establishments like Grogans once more.