The Taoiseach, Michéal Martin said Pubs, nightclubs and casinos will remain shut for another three weeks at least. Bars will not reopen until 31 August and pubs that sell food and restaurants will have to close at 11 pm. “This will come as a blow to pub owners, I want them to know I have every sympathy for their plight,” he said.
No more than 50 people are allowed to meet indoors and 200 outdoors. From 10 August, face masks are now compulsory in shops and shopping malls.
Malta, Cyprus, San Marino, Gibraltar and Monaco have been taken off the Green List. Anyone travelling to these places would have to be isolated on the way back for 14 days.
Taoiseach said, he knew that this news would come as a shock to the public but, considering the rise in cases, there was no choice in this matter.
“This virus is as virulent as ever. It remains indiscriminate in its cruelty. But as dangerous as it is, we have shown we can beat it. The only way to suppress this virus is to work together. We need to wash our hands, wear a mask, we need to avoid house parties, social distance,” he added.
He also urged the public to continue fighting the virus for the health workers, the students, for the vulnerable in our society and in honour of those who have passed away. While appreciating the Irish citizens for their great work in combating the virus, he also advised the public to stay vigilant.
The Taoiseach said that the Cabinet would now have to look at the industry’s support, because he understood how they were severely affected. Although the pandemic is having a serious impact on business, priority will be given to public health and to saving their lives. “The life chances of our children depend on us getting the schools open in a safe way,” he added.
Regarding the removal of places from the green lists, Dr Ronan Glynn, the acting CMO, said: “It’s not about the number of cases, it’s about where those cases are arising, can we link one case with another. It never has been or will be as simple as saying we reached X number and need to do Y, it’s a range of measures we need to keep under review.”
As with the outdoor gathering announced by the Taoiseach, there will be no expansion of outdoor gatherings to bring down the Covid-19 cases. The acting CMO said that it was not intended to make people stay at home, but there was a possibility that large crowds might gather outside events.
He added that “this virus thrives, its counter to what us Irish people love to do, to meet up with people and engage with people.” But in three weeks’ time hopefully our schools will open. There are many good things happening over the last couple of months.” The CMO also advised the public to wash hands, maintain social distance and to follow all the public health advice to keep the numbers down.
The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has advised the Government against the reopening of pubs. The reopening of about 3,500 pubs in the country will not now proceed as scheduled on August 10. The decision was taken by the Government according to the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) and the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI).
“This is Groundhog Day for the trade as twice now the reopening of pubs has been postponed. Make no mistake, this is a full-blown crisis for the trade as over 3,500 pubs must now remain shut,” says VFI Chief Executive, Padraig Cribben.
This decision would be greeted with fury and frustration in the industry as a whole. It imposes unbearable strain on those pubs that are still closed, its 25,000 staff, industry suppliers and all their families. A fair compensation package should be formulated for pubs whose doors remain locked by government order.
Education Minister Norma Foley said she understood the challenges faced by all the businesses, “but this is that the public health experts have advised and we have been guided by public health advice thus far.” She also pointed out that the Government’s top priority was to take the public health seriously and the re-opining of schools.
Ms. Foley said, “a very positive engagement and a desire to make things work coming from schools, from parents, from students and from general society.” She also said there would be no complications, her department decided to work with the schools on any particular issues might arise.
Tanaiste Leo Varadkar, speaking before the cabinet today, mentioned the recent rise in new Covid-19 cases in Ireland and throughout Europe. He said the reopening of schools and colleges was a priority for the Government and we can’t risk going backwards the schools reopening”.
The nation’s existing unemployment programs are supposed to have stayed in place until the situation is normal.