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Restaurants and pubs to close from 3pm as new Covid-19 restrictions kick in

It is not clear when these businesses will be able to reopen.

Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

RESTAURANTS AND GASTRO pubs across the country will be forced to close their doors this afternoon under new restrictions announced by the Taoiseach this week.

On Tuesday Taoiseach Micheál Martin said restaurants and pubs serving food will have to close at 3pm. The government has indicated that it is unlikely these businesses will be allowed to re-open in early 2021.

Hotels can continue to provide food and bar services, but only to guests. 

The Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) has warned the government will face a “tug of war” around reopening from the beginning of January unless it comes up with “more sustainable solutions”.

“This is yet another example of horrendous treatment of the hospitality sector by the Government,” said Donall O’Keeffe, chief executive of the LVA.

“The day before Christmas they are laying off half the staff in the industry and providing them with a very uncertain future having previously forsaken the other half of the industry working in traditional pubs.

Their whole strategy basically consists of one tool, lockdown. No alterations in their approach, no considering thinking. Instead, their kneejerk reaction is to throw hospitality under the bus once more.

Hairdressers and other personal services will have to shut down at close of business today and remain closed after Christmas. 

Further restrictions begin after St Stephen’s Day, with just one other household allowed into a home for a visit.. Inter-country travel will also be banned from 27 December onwards.

The government is due to review the situation on 29 December, but with the rapidly increasing transmission rates, it is expected any changes to the plan will mean tighter restrictions, not the lifting of any announced this week.

Yesterday the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) recommended closing non-essential retail from St Stephen’s Day. The government announcement on Tuesday stated these businesses could remain open, but would have to defer large sale events that would see crowds queuing up outside.

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Despite NPHET’s recommendation to change this, the government will continue to allow retailers to open in the days after Christmas and examine the situation when Cabinet meets on 29 December.

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