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'200 persons present, no social distancing': Gardaí continue to detect Covid-19 breaches at licensed premises

Gardaí in the north west issued the first ‘Immediate Closure Order’ over the weekend.

Image: Shutterstock

AN GARDA SÍOCHÁNA has said it continues to detect breaches of Covid-19 regulations at licensed premises across the country and the first ‘Immediate Closure Order’ was issued over the weekend.

Under legislation approved in September, gardaí can issue an immediate closure order if there is failure or refusal to comply with a direction. As part of thousands of inspections carried out over the weekend, gardaí ordered a premises in the north west of the country to close for the remainder of that day.

An Garda Síochána said despite repeated engagement by local gardaí with the licensee, gardaí continued to observe breaches of the Covid-19 regulations including persistent non-compliance with requirement to serve substantial meal, in addition to non-adherence to public health guideline.

A file will be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecution.

Though the vast majority of premises continued to be compliant, gardaí said, officers continued to detect breaches of regulations at licensed premises across the country, including the following reports:

Dublin region

  • Licensed premises inspected at 10.30pm; 180-200 persons present, no food being served, no social distancing.
  • Premises  inspected at 01.30am; 25 persons inside, fresh pints pulled, no social distancing, no food being served.

Southern region

  • Licensed premises inspected 00.35am; 30 people present, seated inside the premises with full drinks and no food.
  • 20-25 patrons present. Licensee sitting at table with patrons, no social distancing, patrons at another table observed in a huddle talking with arms around each other, no facemasks worn by licensee or staff. Fresh alcoholic beverages on tables. No evidence of any food and premises operating outside permitted times.
  • Food preparation area is not located in premises, but adjacent to smoking area out the back under a gazebo.
  • Food preparation in contravention of regulations – the bar manager indicated an oven where pizzas were heated.

North West Region

  • Hotel premises inspected 9.20pm. Roughly 100 persons in the function room. No social distancing, no food served, groups gathered on tables numbering 12 or more. A number of persons intoxicated in the room. Lounge downstairs had around 50 persons drinking and reception area similar, while outside car loads began to arrive but turned back.
  • Check at licensed premises 8.30pm, little evidence of food being consumed, approximately 80 people on the premises drinking alcohol. No times on contact tracing register, no order book, nine individual invoices with an average of three meals on each, dates on these had been changed. Inspected kitchen – no food being cooked.

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Eastern Region

  • Inspection of sports club; 20 persons on the premises, no food on the tables, no contact tracing list, no chef present, kitchen closed.
  • House searched under the Gaming and Lotteries Act. Unlicensed organised gaming session in progress; eight people in attendance, all from different households.
  • Search carried out in suspected shebeen; 30 people socialising. People wore no face coverings, no social distancing, and were consuming intoxicating liquor.

Speaking today Deputy Commissioner, Policing and Security, John Twomey, said the vast majority of licensed premises are operating in compliance with public health regulations.

Unfortunately, despite this being said by An Garda Síochána numerous times before, disappointingly it appears it must be said again to some licensed premises – Licensed premises that are not adhering to public health regulations are not only committing an offence, but putting at risk the health of their staff, their customers, and their local community.

An Garda Síochána said it continues to remind every person of their “social and personal responsibility not to frequent premises or engage in activity which is likely to contribute to the increasing spread of the Covid-19 virus”.

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