The Imperial Hotel’s house manager had to think twice when his son asked him for a PlayStation 5 for Christmas.
Tim Herlihy hasn’t been hit as hard as many of his colleagues who were laid off during the pandemic, but has still taken a hit.
His wages are 20pc lower than they used to be. He spends his days answering phones and checking everything is OK inside the building in Cork’s South Mall.
Now, just a few days into lockdown, he’s not convinced that his workplace of 37 years will have reopened by St Patrick’s Day.
“I have a wife and two boys, and a mortgage,” he said.
“My son was looking for a PlayStation 5 this morning and I was saying, we might skip this one. We’ll try to manage something but I’m down money. The company reduced wages but they had to.
“The owners, the Flynn family, have done this right and Bastien Peyraud, the general manager, kept as many of us in jobs as possible. There’s no money coming in the front.”
The hotel closed for the first time in over 200 years when the virus struck in March. Over the years its staff have catered for a diverse clientele, including Angela Lansbury and George Best.
“The biggest problem is we don’t know what happens on December 1,” he said.
“We haven’t a clue. We want the Government’s plan. If we go to Level 3, it’s only 15 people outside in the winter. It’s not going to survive. You can’t.
“That’s 15 coffees and scones and 15 people perished and 15 staff trying to manage that.
“I’m very uncertain we’ll be out of it by Paddy’s Day and that’s six months down the road, so you’re eating into your few bob,” he said.
“At the end of the day, we need a plan. We can’t be waiting six weeks.”
Source: Irish News