Pubs to stay closed as Government pushes back reopening plan

Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed that the reopening plan has been pushed back. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has confirmed pubs will stay closed and restrictions on gatherings will remain in place after receiving the latest advice on Covid-19 from public health officials.

Face coverings will be mandatory in shops and shopping centres from Monday.

The Taoiseach also said Malta, Cyprus, San Marino, Gibraltar and Monaco have been removed from the travel green list.

Mr Martin said he was sorry that he was not in a position to “give better news”.

“Evidence of increased transmission is even more clear,” he said.

“I know this will come as a bitter disappointment to many people. The Cabinet has agreed to continue with the current public health measures that are in place.

“Therefore pubs and bars, nightclubs and casinos will remain closed. The current restriction on numbers attending indoor and outdoors gatherings will remain unchanged.”

  • Pubs without a licence to serve food to remain closed until a review in three weeks' time
  • Pubs serving food and restaurants will now have to close at 11pm.
  • Bars, nightclubs and casinos will also stay closed
  • No change to restrictions on indoor and outdoor gatherings – 50 can meet indoors and 200 outdoors
  • Face coverings will be mandatory in shops and shopping centres from August 10th
  • Malta, Cyprus, San Marino, Gibraltar and Monaco have been removed from the 'green list' of safe countries for travel
  • The 14-day incidence rate of the virus per 100,000 people stands at 7.54 – this has tripled over the course of a month


Mr Martin made the announcement after a Cabinet meeting to decide whether the country would proceed to "phase four" of the so-called roadmap to reopening society and business.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said the decision to delay the easing of restrictions will come as a “blow” to many businesses.

He said grants will be in place when the time comes to reopen.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said that Ireland has been “doing well”, adding that there has been no Covid-19 fatalities in the last nine days.

However, he said: “Two weeks ago we had 120 new cases, last week we had 284 new cases.”

Acting chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn said that it is the “right decision” not to move to the next phase of lockdown easing.

“We have seen a concerning increase in the disease incidence in Ireland over the last seven days,” he said.

Some pubs have been closed for more than 140 days. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA
Some pubs have been closed for more than 140 days. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA

Reaction

Pub owners have said many businesses will not survive if they are prevented from reopening. Pubs without a licence to serve food have now been closed for more than 140 days.

In a joint statement, the Licensed Vintners Association and the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) said that the decision will be met with "fury and despair" across the sector.

They have called for the immediate introduction of a "meaningful support package" for pubs.

Reacting to the news, Paul Moynihan, incoming president of the VFI, said publicans were willing to do all they were asked to adhere to public health guidelines.

He said: “Devastating news for rural Ireland and for publicans throughout the country. We were very hopeful, anything that was asked of us we were willing to do to try to get our doors open.

“It seems like rural Ireland has been discriminated against. There are areas of Ireland where there is nowhere for people to socialise … we’ve been forgotten about.”