Business owners in Conmel and throughout South Tipperary are desperately battling for survival due to the devastating impact of the coronavirus crisis.
Among those is the Hotel Minella, a long established family business and one of the Clonmel’s most prestigious and respected establishments.
John Nallen and his sister Liz had to introduce new concepts in an attempt to keep going.
However on Sunday , after the hotel staff had served dinner in a take away service provided for Mothers Day , the family have taken a decision to temporarily close for business because of the crisis.
The outbreak of the coronavirus has brought a totally new perspective to the Nallen family and every other business in the county.
“We thought we had problems when the national coursing meeting was in doubt. We thought we had problems then but that was absolutely nothing compared to this. The times we are living in now are scary, it is unprecedented, it’s our war,” said John Nallen.
“Staying safe is the number one priority now for everybody.People have to put the safety of themselves and their families first. People are cancelling weddings, they are taking the sensible decision , protecting their families is the most important thing now.It is very difficult on couples but how would they feel if a family member was infected on the day. Weddings can be held at another time.It can be sorted just nobody knows when,” said John who said that any couple that booked a wedding at Hotel Minella could be assured that their full deposit would not be lost if their wedding had to be moved to another day.
Before taking the decision to close for business on a temporary basis gatherings for funerals at the hotel thad been going ahead but on a scaled down basis.
“We only had close family after a funeral, no more than twenty people where there would normally be about one hundred.it is hard on families but it is the right thing to do, you have to put people’s health first” said John.
““This is a game changer” said John.
John said they were trying to adapt to the massive change and tried out a drive through collection service for dinner on St.Patrick’s Day and for Mother’s 2Day.
“As the coronavirus escalated all overseas visitors staying here , from Costa Rica, America and all over Europe, just getting home was the top of their agenda.” he said.
“We would have a lot of corporate people staying here. They just wanted to get home and they were busy trying to arrange flights.We are empty now,” said John.
John said that all of the tour bus business was now gone for this year.
“The tour buses going around the country during the summer is now gone. That won’t happen. We had a lot of Americans and Europeans staying here because of that business but that is now gone,” said John.
Speaking to The Nationalst the day after Taoiseach Leo Varadkar addressed the nation, John Nallen was full of praise for the leadership shown by Mr.Varadkar during the crisis.
".The crisis will change the whole dynamic for travel, business , work and social life” he said.