By Holly O’Doherty
May 24 marked the first day that people in Northern Ireland could enjoy indoor dining once again. This is the latest branch of lockdown restrictions that have been lifted by the Stormont Assembly.
I interviewed four people, asking them how they felt about being able to eat and drink inside their favourite pubs and restaurants.
Susan O’Doherty, 51, works as an accountant in Derry. She said, “I cannot wait to be able to sit down inside and eat at my favourite restaurant. I found it so difficult to support restaurants and pubs when it was outdoor dining because the weather was so cold, so I’m delighted.”
Megan McCorriston, 22, is a Queen’s University student studying pharmacy. She said, “It’s amazing that everything is opening up again, but I just worry that people will go mental now and case numbers will rise again. I think I’ll slowly ease my way out of lockdown and go at my own pace with these things.”
Ciaran O’Doherty, 53, is a school librarian in Derry. He said, “It’s really made such a difference to me ever since the pubs and restaurants were able to open even for outdoor dining. I wouldn’t really care for drinking all that much but it’s the atmosphere that I’ve missed. Everyone at my local golf club is just in such high spirits now.”
Callum O’Doherty, 24, is a bartender in Derry. He said, “I’m really happy that we’ve finally gotten to a point that we can open the pubs and restaurants for people to actually come inside. I’ve missed seeing customers in the pub, especially the locals. I am a bit worried that some customers will become really impatient with hospitality staff though. I’m hoping that doesn’t happen.”
All the people who were asked about the easing of lockdown restrictions expressed some form of positive relation to the news. Although there were some concerns relating to hospitality staff and continued fears of COVID-19.
For more information about lockdown restrictions in Northern Ireland, visit https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-regulations-guidance-what-restrictions-mean-you.