Jack Quann
Jack Quann

17.35 15 Mar 2020


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The Government has asked all pubs around Ireland to shut their doors from Sunday night in light of the coronavirus.

It follows discussions with the Licenced Vintners Association (LVA) and the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI).

The Government is calling on all public houses and bars, including hotel bars, to close until at least March 29th.

The LVA and VFI outlined "the real difficulty" in implementing the guidelines on social distancing in a public house setting, as "pubs are specifically designed to promote social interaction".

The Government said: "For the same reason, the Government is also calling on all members of the public not to organise or participate in any parties in private houses or other venues which would put other peoples’ health at risk."

Having consulted with the chief medical officer, the Government believes that this is an essential public health measure  - given the reports of reckless behaviour by some members of the public in certain pubs on Saturday night.

While the Government acknowledged that the majority of the public and pub owners are behaving responsibly, it believes it is important that all pubs are closed in advance of St Patrick's Day.

The LVA and the VFI both supported this decision, and urged all their members to close in line with the Government’s request.

This followed footage from a Dublin city pub on Saturday, which showed people crammed together singing.

Health Minister Simon Harris called this "an insult" to the efforts of doctors and nurses to contain COVID-19.

Several venues had already announced their closure with immediate effect, including in Dublin's Temple Bar area.

The Mercantile Group said it was closing all its pubs and clubs - including The George, Café en Seine and Whelan's.

Earlier the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar suggested closures could be enforced, tweeting that he could seek powers from the Dáil and Seanad.

He added: "People who have been out this weekend should avoid physical contact with seniors or people with chronic diseases. You could make them very very sick."

Ibec, the group that represents Irish business, also called on businesses to review their implementation of guidance on social distancing measures to help avoid unnecessary gatherings.

In a letter addressed to Mr Varadkar and key cabinet ministers, it also called on the Government to unveil further measures to support businesses amidst the ongoing crisis.

Ibec CEO Danny McCoy said: "The economic aspects of this crisis are unique. There is no precedent and it will require a very different policy response to that used in previous crises.

"A coordinated international and multi-agency fiscal stimulus package will ultimately be required in order to reboot our damaged economy.

“It is inevitable that we will see extensive job layoffs over the coming days and weeks.

"Many of those losing their incomes will be in lower paid sectors of the economy and self-employed.

"Immediate introduction of additional wage subsidies and social welfare measures is required in order to provide a reasonable basic income to all workers impacted by the crisis."

It comes as 40 more coronavirus cases were confirmed here on Sunday - 23 men and 17 women.

Some 25 of the cases are associated with the east of the country, nine are in the west and six in the south.

There are now 169 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ireland.


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Covid-19 Danny McCoy IBEC Leo Varadkar New Coronavirus Cases Pub Closures Pubs Simon Harris Social Distancing Temple Bar

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