Shut down messages appeared with 'appalling regularity'

Dessie Blackadder


Dessie Blackadder

It was just after teatime that the messages started to appear with an appalling regularity on social media streams.

For a time it looked like every pub, club, restaurant and hotel was going to announce closure until further notice.

And then notices of Church services being cancelled started to appear. It was the day that the game truly changed.

In the Ballymena area, the Grouse Inn was among the first to announce a shutdown after Prime Minister Boris Johnson's advice to 'avoid pubs'.

They said: “To Prevent the spread of Covid-19 and protect the well being of our loyal customers and staff, we will be closing our doors at 11pm tonight until further notice.

“We wish you and your loved ones good health during this difficult and uncertain time, and will keep you informed when it is safe to open again.

“Stay safe everyone.”

Others soon followed and for the rest of the evening it was like watching the lights go out one by one by one.

Not every bar or restaurant - or indeed, Church - has opted for closure, several quoting extensive cleaning measures and new safety protocols which have been adopted but it would be fair to say that things are not going to get better anytime soon.

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