Yer Man’s Irish Pub Fights to Stay Open Through Omicron Surge

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By Jessica Easthope

Everything’s stocked and ready for a full house – but it’s not likely that there will be more than a few customers today at Yer Man’s Irish pub in Glendale, Queens. 

“It was getting back to some kind of normalcy, but then omicron came in and destroyed everything,” said owner Jimmy O’Reilly.  

Owner Jimmy remembers a time when he would make more than $1,000 dollars during lunch. But over the last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, those memories have been replaced with struggle, a roller coaster of emotions and desperation. He’s down 65 percent of his business.

“You never know what’s going to come around the corner,” he said, “they could shut it down, hopefully they won’t, the new mayor promised.” 

From the outside looking in, Jimmy’s precautions and provisions seemed like a business owner trying to appease city leaders and show them that he could comply, but that’s not how Jimmy sees it at all. 

“The barriers I put up for my family that work here, my employees are like family,” he said.

It costs Jimmy $17,000 dollars a week just to keep his doors open. He says businesses have been tossed aside and he imagines the city feels just like he does: broken.

“I still love New York,” Jimmy said. “It needs to be put back together the way it was. Hopefully Mayor Eric Adams, hopefully [he] brings this beautiful New York City that we love, that we used to love, falling out of love with it – back, the quicker the better.” 

With business worse now than during the height of the pandemic, Jimmy says his story isn’t one of loss but of resilience. He’s going to keep fighting – that’s one thing he’ll never lose.