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Reopening of pubs delayed by three weeks as Government pushes Phase Four back to 10 August

The country will not now move to Phase 4 on 20 July as planned.

Image: RollingNews.ie

Updated Jul 15th 2020, 8:50 PM

THE REOPENING OF pubs and nightclubs has been pushed back until 10 August following a meeting of Cabinet ministers today, along with a number of other measures announced this evening. 

Cabinet ministers agreed to postpone the reopening of pubs under Phase 4 from 20 July to 10 August.

The country will now not move to Phase 4 on 20 July as planned, and instead this phase is being extended until 10 August. 

Here are the main changes announced this evening:

  • Pubs, hotels bars, nightclubs and casinos will remain closed until 10 August
  • Face coverings are to be made mandatory in shops for shoppers and staff 
  • Social visits to people’s homes should be limited to a maximum of 10 people from no more than four households 
  • A ‘Green List’ for countries to which it is safe to travel will be published on Monday but the advice remains against all non-essential travel 
  • Health officials confirmed that two more people in Ireland have died from Covid-19 and that 14 new cases have been diagnosed 

The changes come after serious concerns were raised at a meeting of the National Public Health Emergency Team on the re-opening of pubs, given the rising number of cases of Covid-19 in the country.

At a briefing this evening, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said: “Pubs, hotel bars, nightclubs and casinos will remain closed until 10 August. Pubs and bars which are already operating and serving food can remain open once they are fully compliant with the public health guidance.”

Some of the most recent cases have originated from clusters in congregated settings, and it is feared that Ireland is not yet ready to move to the next stage of re-opening the economy. 

Pubs that serve food were permitted to re-open at the beginning of Phase Three on 29 June under stringent guidelines. 

This meant that a large number of pubs around the country remained closed, with 20 July set out in the roadmap as the date they would be permitted to re-open. That has now been delayed.

At the outset of the roadmap, the government has said that we can progress through the phases only if the public health advice dictates that it is the correct decision to do so. 

Martin also addressed concerns around the number of reported house parties in recent weeks. Public Health guidance as a result has been updated to reflect those concerns. 

“There is evidence that unrestricted house parties have given rise to recent outbreak of the virus. It is now recommended that social visits to people’s homes will be limited to a. maximum of 10 visitors from no more than four other households,” he said. 

The matter was discussed by the Taoiseach and government ministers at Cabinet today, alongside the issue of mandatory mask-wearing indoors.

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Vintners

The Vintner’s Federation of Ireland (VFI) has expressed disappointment at the move and said it had expected pubs to reopen as originally planned on 20 July. 

“This is a shocking decision not to proceed with the planned reopening of pubs and will be a hammer blow to thousands of pubs and their local communities around the country,” VFI chief executive Padraig Cribben said. 

“The vast majority of these pubs are small rural outlets run by families who are on first-name terms with their customers and far removed from the crowded venues that concern NPHET.

“As controlled venues we believe these pubs should be allowed open as they are far safer than the likes of uncontrolled house parties and pose little threat to public health.”

Additional reporting by Conor McCrave and Cónal Thomas

About the author:

Sean Murray

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