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Pubs unsure about reopening next week as NPHET says it's 'too early' to say it'll happen

The final phase of the government’s reopening is planned for 20 July.

Dublin pub Grogan's has said it will not be reopening next week.
Dublin pub Grogan's has said it will not be reopening next week.
Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

THE NATIONAL PUBLIC Health Emergency Team (NPHET) is due to meet later today, less than a week out from the final phase of the government’s reopening schedule.

Speaking at yesterday evening’s Covid-19 briefing, acting chief medical officer Dr. Ronan Glynn said it was “too early” to say that the final phase would go ahead as planned. 

Glynn said that the five-day average of cases is now 20, higher than it had been in recent weeks, and that other considerations will be made.

“In the first instance we’re looking everyday at the increasing cases. We’re looking at the profile of those cases, can we can we say where they’re coming from? We’re looking at the reproductive number and as we said  last week, that appears to have gone at least to 1 if not above one. 

Thankfully our hospitals and critical care units are very stable and at very low levels. As I said, we’re monitoring very closely we’ll continue to do so through this week.

Glynn added that NPHET was “concerned” about the increase in cases and that it was “too early” to say whether Phase 4 would go ahead. 

Under the final phase of reopening planned for 20 July, pubs that don’t serve food can reopen and gatherings of 100 people indoors and 500 outdoors will be permissible. 

Ahead of that date, some pubs have complained that they are not being given enough information about what is expected of them. 

The Dublin branch of the Licensed Vintners Association tweeted yesterday that guidelines are “urgently required” and well-known pub Grogan’s said it would delay reopening by a further week. 

“If public health grounds dictate that it is not safe for us to open just yet, we completely understand and accept that, but the very least that should be expected is that we’re given fair notice if this is the case,” Grogan’s added. 

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Speaking last night, Glynn said there there has been “very clear guidance” for the hospitality sector for a number of weeks ahead of restaurants reopening and that it is unlikely new guidance would be issued. 

“Clearly there may be some nuances in relation to the pubs specifically, but I would expect that the vast majority of the guidance and the measures that they’d been asked to put in place are already out there in the public domain through the guidance that’s been published with the hospitality sector,” he said. 

“From a public health perspective it’s a similar environment, so similar kinds of measures need to be in place. Whether that’s for the staff in those environments, whether it’s the length of time you spend in them, or the distancing you are from other people. So in broad terms I wouldn’t expect them to be markedly different.”

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Rónán Duffy

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