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Ireland pushes back reopening of bars

Published:  16 July, 2020

Ireland has pushed back the planned reopening of bars and nightclubs by three weeks. 

The delay follows concerns about a rise in Covid-19 infections among younger people. 

Due to have entered the fourth and final phase of restrictions on 20 July, allowing the reopening of all bars, pubs and nightclubs, Ireland's Taoiseach Michael Martin announced that this will now not happen until 10 August.   

While he said that Ireland remained in a “good position” in relation to Covid-19, the number of cases has increased to 3.9 per 100,000 from a low of 2.5 per 100,000 in the over the past 14 days, according to chief medical officer Ronan Glynn.

In addition, Ireland’s Covid-19 reproduction number, which measures the number of people who become infected from each positive case, has increased to the highest level in several weeks to between 1.2 and 1.8, he added.

The Vintners’ Federation (VFI) of Ireland said the decision to postpone the reopening of pubs was a “hammer blow” to the industry. 

“The decision to postpone the planned reopening of pubs is a shocking development that will have huge ramifications for family-run pubs across Ireland,” said VFI chief executive Padraig Cribben.

“Publicans are stunned by the unexpected decision, given the first three phases of exiting lockdown proceeded as planned, including the reopening of restaurants and the wider hospitality sector,” he added.

The VFI said it was now seeking "urgent engagement with Government to press the case for a major support package for pubs that will have been closed for five months by the time they are allowed recommence trading.

Martin also announced that the government would order the wearing of face masks by customers in all shops, as well as retaining its advice against non-essential foreign travel.