Most Offaly publicans are feeling determined and are looking forward to reopening their premises, a pub owner in Kinnitty said this week.
It's been a terrible time for pubs in Offaly during the last year but now there is thankfully the scent of freedom in the air and a possibility of reopening doors.
The big question though is how many pubs will reopen in the two counties?
Or have many of them suffered irreparable damage and will never reopen?
The general thinking is that most of them will continue to operate under their licences and the damage to our pub culture won't be that bad.
Cllr John Clendennen says this is what he is hearing on the ground.
Councillor Clendennen is a publican himself, running the famous Giltrap's in Kinnitty, a family pub which is an institution and is one of the loveliest pubs in Offaly.
"The last year has been really tough," he says, "and sometimes you could be forgiven for feeling despair and anxiety about the future of pubs.
“However, the general feeling I get from other publicans is that they are determined to reopen their doors.
“There's a possibility that once much of the population is vaccinated then we could start trading very strongly and there could be a boom in trade. We could see the benefits of the massive pent-up desire in the general public to drink again in our establishments."
419 days have elapsed since the beginning of the first Lockdown on March 12, 2020. 416 days have elapsed since the pubs were asked to close. Cllr Clendennen says his pub has been closed for 273 days during those 416 days.
"For the other days I was allowed to serve outside for 75 days and only 68 days inside. It's been an extraordinary, unprecedented time. The big question now is what will the landscape be like for pubs once trading resumes. I am veering towards an optimistic outlook. I think most pubs in Offaly will survive this."
He added that a lot of publicans have missed their work and the daily interaction with customers.
"They are looking forward very much to a return of their working routine and chatting with customers once again, especially their regular customers."
Not everyone is being as optimistic as the pub owners in Tipp and Offaly. Some vintners representatives are saying they are expecting many of Ireland's 7,100 pubs will remain shut once restrictions are eased and the Covid financial supports are halted. On March 15, 2020 the government requested that the pubs close for two weeks (with the temporary loss of 50,000 jobs). Many of the 7,100 pubs have not opened since. One vintner said no one knows what will happen. "It will all depend on the attitudes of the banks," he predicted.
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