It’s a washout: Wet weather forces outdoor hospitality closures

It was a disappointing bank holiday Monday in Northern Ireland for punters hoping to take advantage of the more relaxed lockdown restrictions.

Monday, 3rd May 2021, 4:52 pm
Updated Tuesday, 4th May 2021, 5:40 am
Wet Weather at Whitehead in Co Antrim. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

The wet and windy weather conditions forced a number of bars and restaurants to close their outdoor areas.

This comes after something of a chaotic reopening for many in the hospitality industry, with a clamp-down on rules regarding outdoor spaces causing what the trade-body Hospitality Ulster described as “chaos”.

One restaurant which did manage to open again over the weekend was Cargo by Vertigo in Belfast, but the wintry weather soon poured cold water on the high hopes for the bank holiday.

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The restaurant updated customers on social media.

“We had a cosy protected space ready to welcome our customers but unfortunately due to the adaptations we had to make to comply with the Executive definition of ‘outdoors’ we are not able to provide the experience you have come to expect on such a wet and windy day,” the restaurant said on Facebook.

“To ensure the comfort and safety of our customers we will have to close today (Monday). We are as disappointed as you but be assured all bookings will be contacted to reschedule.”

Another establishment caught out by the adverse weather was the Dirty Duck in Holywood, Co Down.

“We’ve worked so hard to try and get this beer garden all-weather prepared but that heavy rain and strong wind is just a bit too much today,” the alehouse wrote on Facebook.

“We want you to be able to enjoy your first post-lockdown pint of Guinness and savour the moment you finally get that tasty portion of scampi and chips but feel in these weather conditions that joyous experience just wouldn’t be up to our usual high standards.”

There were scores of other well-known pubs and restaurants forced to close up for the day by the windy, soggy weather although some did brace the harsh conditions.

The unsettled weather is set to continue on Tuesday, with a gusty start expected in the morning — particularly along the north coast.

Things are set to pick up slightly with more sunshine expected on Wednesday and Thursday.

The temperature is set to rise to the teens by the weekend, with 13 degrees expected acros much of the province on Sunday.

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