'We all need this' - Restaurant owner welcomes easing of restrictions but says supports still needed

Gina Murphy says the sector is trying to "run a race with a broken leg"
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

09.49 21 Jan 2022

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'We all need this' - Restauran...

'We all need this' - Restaurant owner welcomes easing of restrictions but says supports still needed

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

09.49 21 Jan 2022

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A restaurant owner in Dublin city says the planned relaxing of restrictions is "wonderful news", but supports will still be needed.

Gina Murphy, owner of Hugo's on Merrion Row, was speaking as NPHET approved the easing of almost all COVID-19 restrictions.

It is expected the hospitality sector - including nightclubs - will return to normal opening hours over the coming days.


Last month, Ms Murphy told Newstalk she would not open again until she could trade with certainty.

"I want to get open as soon as possible, I need to get people back to work" she said.

"I will do whatever it takes to do that, but I also have a responsibility to them by running a viable business.

"There's no point in me trading, and putting the business into jeopardy, so that their jobs are not secure".

While speaking to Newstalk Breakfast on Friday, she says she is still nervous about the future.

"It's been a horrendous almost two years for everybody in hospitality and tourism across the country.

"I still had another sleepless night to tell you the truth, I'm very nervous, and I'm sure there were thousands like me... that still, your brain's wrecking, 'How are we going to come out of this?'

"It's all good and well to say that they're opening the gate and they're letting us back in the race.

"But we're badly wounded and injured - it's like trying to run a race with a broken leg.

"So we're still going to need a lot of supports just to get back and get healthy again."

'We need to get tourism moving'

She says it's important now to keep things moving.

"But I mean it's wonderful news, it really is, for everybody - and we all need this.

"Businesses and communities and economies across the land we need this.

"We need to get back working again, we need to get our staff back".

And she says tourism will be an important part of it.

"We need to get tourism moving, the cities are in dire straits.

"Tumbleweed... so we've got to get tourists back and we've got to get people back into the offices.

"We need people back in to sustain the cities".

Asked when she might re-open, she says there is a lot of planning and change ahead.

"It's probably going to take us eight to 10 days to crank up the machine again.

"Every piece of mail that I've opened for the last couple of weeks is a price increase, so we can't go back to the menus as we had them.

"We have to re-design all our menus, we also have to take into consideration what's our market?

"We opened five days a week previous - I don't think that appetite is there just yet with people still working from home.

"But for the places that were open till 8 it's a lot easier, and fair dues to them, I hope they get a crack at it".

Main image: Hugo's is seen on Dublin's Merrion Row in October 2008. Picture by: Louise Heusinkveld / Alamy Stock Photo

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