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NI restaurant owner hopes for social distancing relaxation after £1m loss

Claire McNeilly spoke to 10 Northern Ireland restaurant owners about the cost of Covid-19... and their hopes and fears for the future

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Mark Beirne

Mark Beirne

Paul Cunningham in his restaurant

Paul Cunningham in his restaurant

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Ian Orr

Ian Orr

Niall McKenna

Niall McKenna

Glen Wheeler

Glen Wheeler

Abdul Rob

Abdul Rob

Stephen Hamilton

Kiera Duffy

Kiera Duffy

Mark Beirne

Andy Rea, from Mourne Seafood Bar, Belfast, said he feared the popular Bank Street restaurant would close permanently

"When we had the daunting prospect of just closing, borrowing money...taking other factors into account - how long this could go on for and how severe it was - I just thought 'that's us'," he said.

"We did a credit report recently and we owed £100,000. We had no money coming in and had to borrow money to pay the staff's furlough as it took so long coming in.