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Ireland is the only country in Europe where wet pubs are fully closed, says Varadkar

NPHET has been asked to work on guidelines that would allow for the safe reopening of all pubs.

Leo Varadkar says he would like pubs to be given the chance to show they can adhere to the guidelines.
Leo Varadkar says he would like pubs to be given the chance to show they can adhere to the guidelines.
Image: Christina Finn

IRELAND IS THE only country in Europe where wet pubs are fully closed, the Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said this evening. 

His comments come as it was revealed that protocols that might allow for the reopening of pubs into the future are being worked on by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET). 

Varadkar said he hopes pubs can reopen fully if the virus starts going in the right direction again.

Speaking at a briefing this evening, Varadkar said he “can’t put a date” on when ‘wet’ pubs will be allowed reopen.

He said clusters in pubs have been very small to date. “I would like to see them being given a chance,” he said, adding that the majority of businesses, such as pubs serving food, have shown they can adhere to the guidelines.

“Ireland is the only country in Europe where wet pubs are fully closed. In most countries, they are open with some restriction and we’re examining exactly where that can be done and we’re building on, I think, a very good compliance from the restaurants sector where we’ve only seen one significant cluster out of very many,” said Varadkar.

Varadkar said the government’s priority for government over the past couple of weeks has been to reopen the schools successfully. 

“In order to make sure that was possible. We had to take quite a strict approach to other forms of interaction and social gatherings.

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“So, yes it is true that Ireland is stricter than most European countries when it comes to rules around pubs, around gatherings, around international travel. But I think we’d all like to see the current rise in new cases level off and start falling before we make any decisions,” he said.

Speaking to reporters at Government Buildings this evening, he announced a €16 million support package for the pubs around the country following the confirmation the they would not be reopening.

Since 29 June, pubs that serve food have been permitted to re-open under strict guidelines, but other pubs have had to remain shut.

They were initially slated to reopen on 10 August but that was pushed back until 31 August. It was confirmed last night that this date was to be pushed back again.

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