It will be late August before proper pints are back on the menu.
Acting on the firm advice of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), the Government has moved to stall the Phase Four reopening of pubs and hotel bars for a further three weeks.
The decision was made this evening as Cabinet met to discuss the latest health advice after a series of virus spikes over the weekend and a further 45 confirmed cases of Covid-19 today, bringing the total number of cases in Ireland to 26,253. There were no further deaths.
Two-thirds of the new cases were recorded in Co. Kildare.
— Department of Health (@roinnslainte) August 4, 2020
The planned Phase Four reopenings, which were originally due to go ahead in July, had been delayed until Monday, August 10th following a rise in the reproductive number of Covid-19.
With 326 new cases of Covid-19 confirmed in Ireland since last Thursday, now pub owners will have to wait at least three weeks for further clarification on opening their doors to customers.
‘It’s the right thing to do’
Announcing the news this evening, An Taoiseach Micheál Martin explained that the five-day average of new cases across the country is now 45.4 – an increase from 6.4 on June 4th.
“I know this will come as a blow to publicans. This virus is taking away their ability to make a living,” he said.
“I know for workers and businesses who thought they were going back to work next week, this will be a body blow. We are very sorry about that. But it is the right thing to do.”
Face coverings to be made mandatory
An Taoiseach also confirmed that face coverings will be mandatory in shops and shopping centres in Ireland from August 10th.
‘A cautious approach’
Speaking this evening, the Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said the NPHET had advised the Government to take a “cautious approach” to re-opening venues such as pubs and hotel bars over the coming weeks.
“I know that will come as a further blow to some of the sectors that can’t be reopened. But we just can’t risk moving backwards or risk schools reopening,” he said.
The decision has been described as ‘devastating’ by the Vintners Federation of Ireland, which represents 3,500 pubs across the country.
Pubs that do not serve food have been closed since March and are now calling for compensation for publicans who have been prevented from opening their businesses again after the lockdown.