DIFFICULT: Johnny McGuire who runs Bricín on High St says the new one hour and 45 minute restrictions for customers will be difficult. Photo: Michelle Crean

By Michelle Crean

New regulations around the reopening of businesses serving food which restricts customers to a maximum of one hour and 45 minutes in a premises at any one time – “will be a logistical nightmare”, according to one local businessman this week.

Johnny McGuire who has been running Bricín for the last 30 years on the top of High St is preparing to reopen on Thursday night, July 2 at 6pm.

Initially, he says he’s going to ease into reopening to “get his toe in the water and build up from there”.

However, Fáilte Ireland’s newly published guidelines this week means that pubs, gastro pubs and bars can allow customers 105 minutes with an additional 15 minutes between bookings to allow for adequate cleaning and to ensure customers leave and enter without mixing.

And where the two metre physical distancing is not possible, businesses are now permitted to implement one metre physical distancing in controlled environments.

“It is going to be a logistical nightmare but if they are the guidelines then that’s what we have to do. We’d ask the public to be as understanding and forebording for the sake of our staff and customers.”

In preparation of the reopening, Johnny, who employs 25 staff full and part-time, has an exhibition on the front window dedicated to Killarney artist Seán O’Connor.

With so much red tape before the doors even open, Johnny has hired the services of a consultant.

“The layout of the shop will be changed creating corridors for access for people to go about the shop comfortably,” he said.

“Upstairs we’ll be removing tables and chairs that are no longer required during this period creating more space and distance between customers. With a two metre distance our capacity will be less than half. One metre we’ll increase our capacity, but it’ll make a difference between being economic and uneconomic.”

In his years in the hospitality industry he admitted that this is the worst economic crisis he’s ever experienced.

“Half our income for the year is already gone so we’re now faced with trying to salvage the rest and survive through the winter. That’s the big crux for all businesses in the town. I’d say a good percentage of the businesses in Killarney are solely dependent on visitors and it’s going to be challenging times.”