delayed again

Pubs in Ireland won't be re-opening next week

The Acting Chief Medical Officer said that NPHET weren’t in a position to recommend that pubs reopen from 31 August.

NPHET IS TO recommend that the government don’t re-open pubs next Monday – another setback for some 3,500 businesses that have been closed since March.

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

At the Department of Health briefing today, Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn said that the National Public Health Emergency (NPHET) discussed today whether pubs could reopen on 31 August as previously planned.

Dr Glynn said given the current rate of infections in Ireland, and give the restrictions that are in place, public health experts “felt that we really weren’t in a position to reopen the pubs at this point”, and that it “simply isn’t the appropriate time right now to open pubs”. 

NPHET would keep the issue under review, he added. 

Dr Glynn said that there wasn’t a new date for pubs to reopen, adding that there needed to be a national focus on getting case numbers down.

We will keep the reopening of pubs along with other measures that might need to be eased over the coming weeks.

Last Tuesday nationwide restrictions were tightened to limit viewers at sporting events to 15, and to limit the number of people you can have to your house to six.

Responding to claims that Ireland has the longest lockdown of pubs in the EU, the acting chief medical officer said that “we are aware the impact this is having on small family businesses around the country and the impact on the social life of communities”.

We want pubs to reopen, let’s be clear about that. We want pubs to reopen in a safe way. But since the end of June, we have seen a slow and steady deterioration of the profile of this disease in this country.

Glynn emphasised that pubs had been due to reopen at the end of July, but through August there have been “very significant clusters”, and “all the parameters that we monitor to deteriorate over the last couple of months”.

There just hasn’t been an opportunity to say that the trajectory of the disease is such that we can open up what is recognised internationally as one of the most high-risk environments for transmission of disease.

Glynn said that in the interest of limiting people’s contacts, of opening schools, and keeping the number of Covid-19 cases in hospitals low, they couldn’t recommend opening the pubs back up.

There have been 392 Covid-19 active outbreaks which are still being managed by public health officials, of which 252 are due to social gatherings in private houses.

There has been one outbreak in a pub-restaurant that led to 26 cases, and that subsequently led to 10 additional cases in a workplace.

Vintners estimate up to 3,500 pubs remain shut across the country.

The date on the roadmap for when they could re-open has changed on numerous occasions, with 31 August marked as the next possible date. 

They have called for dedicated supports from government to ensure the industry can survive. One Cork member of the Vintners Federation of Ireland said that the news was “really worrying”, and that “serious supports” were needed if businesses are to survive.

“Families livelihoods at stake,” he said.

With reporting from Sean Murray

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