Pantibar not reopening indoor services until all staff vaccinated

‘Not risk averse’ but feel responsible for young unvaccinated staff, says Rory O’Neill

Pantibar in Dublin city centre: Mr O’Neill says he has been fortunate to have sufficient outdoor space to continue to operate his businesses successfully in recent weeks. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

Pantibar in Dublin city centre: Mr O’Neill says he has been fortunate to have sufficient outdoor space to continue to operate his businesses successfully in recent weeks. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

 

The proprietor of Pantibar, one of Dublin’s best known gay bars, has said he will not reopen indoor facilities until all his staff are vaccinated.

Rory O’Neill told RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show that he was not risk averse, he was vaccinated, fit and healthy, but that very few of his young staff had been fully vaccinated.

As a 52-year-old gay man, he said this wasn’t his first pandemic.

Mr O’Neill acknowledged that he was fortunate to have sufficient outdoor space to continue to operate his businesses Pantibar and Pennylane, which he said had been trading very successfully in recent weeks.

It had been an easy decision for him to make, he said, but he appreciated that there were other bars that had been closed for almost 18 months and could not provide outdoor service.

Mr O’Neill said that the decision had been his, that his staff had not requested the move. “They’re in their 20s, they think they’re going to live forever.

Response

“They’re not concerned, but I feel a responsibility even if they don’t care.”

The response to his announcement of the decision on social media had been “overwhelming”, he said, and overall the comments had been positive, though there had been some negative responses from “anti-vax types.”

“I feel bad for people who cannot avail of the vaccine. If you choose not to get the vaccine then you have to live with the consequences. I don’t want people to come into the bar who have not been vaccinated.

“I’ve no time for the anti-vax crowd,” he said.