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It’s none of your business COVID!

How has COVID-19 affected business in the liberties? 

Covid-19 has affected many businesses throughout the year, but no sector has been hit harder than small local business in the retail and hospitality sector. 

The news isn’t all bad however. We spoke to the manager of Camden Bites and Brews, and simply asked how well they were doing in comparison to before Covid-19.  

I got a simple response: they have “never done better”. 

They were closed for a period of three weeks but provided take-away pints, cocktails and food to keep their business afloat.  

Photo by Christopher O’Flaherty of Camden bites and brews

Although I spoke with Camden Bites and Brews before the announcement of new Level 5 restrictions, the manager said that they already had a plan for the next lockdown.  

Not everyone has taken to restrictions so happily. Press Up Group – which owns many pubs and restaurants including The Lucky Duck opposite TU Dublin’s Aungier Street building and Anti-Social on Francis Street– has decided to take legal action against the government over the extension to restrictions against indoor dining.  

The chain employs more than 1,700 employees, making it a major company here in Dublin.  

We asked both establishments for a statement on the matter, but they declined.  

The Liberty also paid a visit to the wonderful Liberty Market to get an idea from locals about how COVID has been affecting their business and changing how they work. 

Photo by Christopher O’Flaherty of the liberty market while closed

Fran Massey of Cut Price Jewellers said the local family run business has been affected in many ways.  

Before the latest restrictions, it was already closed for three months but moved towards a more modern, online approach to selling its products during that time, he said.  

Massey said there has been a lack of communication from Dublin City Council. He also expressed his concern about how badly continuing restrictions and recession may hit local business in the Liberties area.  

At The Clock, a well-known pub that attracts plenty of locals in the area, we had a talk with the manager of the business to see how they are surviving during this pandemic.  

The Clock bar, photo by Christoper O’Flaherty

Like many other places, the Thomas Street pub closed for three months and now faces another closure. The rent and even the price of the Sky subscription have not gone down. They reduced their staff on a normal day from eight to two.  

The manager said restaurants and bars have been unfairly blamed for spreading the virus, and their voices has not been heard.  

Unfortunately, some businesses have had to close permanently since the pandemic. On July 30th, Bakersa popular local pub in the Liberties, had to close after 16 years in business. It released a statement on Facebook saying: 

As we began to talk to more and more locals about coronavirus, it became clear that the pandemic has greatly impacted the Liberties community. 

Pubs, restaurants and local businesses have all been hugely affected by the pandemic. Many business owners and their employees live in constant fear of closing, losing their jobs and way of life.  

Businesses that have survived are seeing fewer customers, yet the price of rent and bills have not changed.  

Let’s just hope that these struggling local businesses find a way to overcome their obstacles.  

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