Just a few months ago, Ireland’s restaurant sector was flourishing. Despite high rents and a VAT increase last year, bookings were strong and jobs plentiful. Having avoided the economic hit of a no-deal Brexit, the industry was looking forward to a strong year built around a busy tourist season and insatiable domestic demand. And with a record 21 establishments receiving Michelin stars in the guide’s latest edition, Irish cuisine seemed to be in a golden age.
Just as hospitality stood to gain the most from a booming economy, it found itself badly exposed to the worst effects of the collapse caused by Covid-19. With the exception of those who could offer a limited takeaway service, the lockdown resulted in restaurants having to close their doors and let their staff go overnight. After three long months of shutdown, the country is now tentatively re-opening, but few industries will be less recognisable
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