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Pubs are to serve a substantial meal if they open before 20 July. Shutterstock
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Gardaí identify 26 pubs potentially in breach of health regulations after weekend crackdown

Gardaí say a file is being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in each of these cases.

AN GARDA SÍOCHÁNA has said that gardaí conducted 6,830 checks of pubs over the weekend as part of an operation to support public health guidelines. 

The force said in a statement this morning that gardaí found 2,785 pubs open for business and determined that 2,759 were in compliance with regulations and licensing laws. 

In the case of 26 pubs, gardaí say they found potential breaches of the health regulations or licensing laws “even after providing the premises with the opportunity to rectify the situation”.

They have not named the pubs in question nor the areas in which they are located.

Gardaí say a file is being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in each of these cases. 

The force said that in many of these cases, gardaí found customers consuming alcohol without evidence of food also being consumed and no evidence of food on receipts.

Under Phase 3 of the government’s roadmap which began on Monday, pubs can now open if they serve “substantial meals” that cost at least €9 under guidance issued from Fáilte Ireland.

Pubs are also permitted to impose social distancing rules of just one metre rather than two metres, subject to other mitigation requirements. Patrons must also spend a maximum of 105 minutes in pubs. 

Gardaí say they also observed a lack of adherence to these guidelines with large groups at the one table, little to no social distancing, no advisory signage, and no Covid-19 contact tracing being recorded.

Gardaí do not have any additional powers to close pubs not adhering to guidelines but have said that that pubs who flout them may receive an objection to their licence when it comes up for renewal. 

Gardaí say the weekends checks were made under regulations from The Health Act 1947 (Section 31A-Temporary Restrictions) which remains in effect until 20 July. 

“The significant number of visits conducted by Gardaí found a large level of compliance among licensed premises. This is very welcome,” Deputy Commissioner John Twomey said. 

The significant number of visits conducted by Gardaí found a large level of compliance among licensed premises. This is very welcome.

However, we remain concerned that a minority are potentially operating in breach of the regulations. In doing so, they are putting the health of their customers and staff and everyone they come into contact with after at risk of getting Covid-19.

“We are sending a clear message to such premises that we will be opposing their liquor license renewal applications in September unless they come into compliance,” Twomey added.

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