As a result of the coronavirus local bars including The Bridge Bar, The Merchant, Cobbles The Phoenix and The Bank have announced that they won't be open tomorrow, traditionally one of the busiest days of the year for the hospitality industry in Newry. It is an unprecedented move and follows yesterdays total closure of pubs south of the border and todays call from Prime Minister Boris Johnston for people to avoid pubs and restaurants.

In a fast moving situation it's quite possible that other city bars and clubs will also decide to close and we will add these as we find out.

ADDITIONS: Newry Golf Club, The Oliver, Maddens, McSwiggans, Bellinis, St John Bosco Club, Newry Shamrocks, Newry Foresters and Magees are also closing St Patrick's Day.

The Bridge Bar. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/
The Bridge Bar. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/

The Bridge Bar announcing their closure said "As a business, we have been forced to make some very difficult decisions. we have decided to close to the public on St Patrick’s Day.  
The St. Patricks Day traditionally is one of the busiest days of the year in The Bridge Bar and we feel that with the current guidelines of Social Distancing it would be impossible for us to manage our business safely over such a busy day.

"These are unprecedented times and the health and well-being of our customers, staff and the wider community are paramount above all else. Further information will be posted as we adapt to an ever-changing environment."

The Bank also announced its closure on the day. "Here at The Bank complex Newry, we have had to consider the information currently available to us and the wider community. It with deep regret that we have taken the decision to close our premises on St. Patrick’s Day."

The Merchant said on a Facebook post "In the best interest of public health and safety and that of our staff, we have made the decision to avoid mass gatherings by closing tomorrow.

We can only apologies on our behalf and ask everyone to please stay safe."

The Phoenix added "Lads and Lassies I’m afraid that after spending the day on bookface and the interweb checking into all the advice we are being given about protecting you guys and my staff who are absolute legends and would do anything asked of them, I’ve decided that it is not fair to ask them to step into a situation out of there control and even yours where you could come into contact with someone unknowingly infected.

"It would be impossible on St. Patrick’s day to enforce social distancing and impossible for us to keep the place as clean as needs to be for your protection. So I’m afraid that we will not be opening our doors tomorrow on St. Patrick’s day, trust me no one is more disappointed than me, the tips on St. Paddy’s day are amazing but seriously I have to put your health and the health of the staff first."

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