An Garda Síochána have been given the power to close a pub or restaurant breaking COVID-19 health regulations for up to 30 days.
It means that a premises can be closed by a Garda Superintendent for the remainder of the day in the first instance.
If there is a second breach, Gardaí can apply to the District Court for an emergency closure order for up to three days.
While a third breach could see an application for a temporary closure order, where there has been a failure to comply with a compliance notice and Gardaí believe this is continuing or likely to recur.
A first temporary closure order can be for up to seven days, and a second or subsequent order can be for up to 30 days.
Justice Minister Helen McEntee said most premises have been complying with the regulations.
But there has been an increase in those that are not.
Minister McEntee confirms Cabinet signs off on enhanced enforcement powers for Gardaí to go into pubs & restaurants. Gardaí can seek a pub to be closed for 30 days if they breach guidelines 3 times. To be used in “Limited circumstances”. pic.twitter.com/M9F6olw8es
— Shane Beatty (@ShaneBeattyNews) August 28, 2020
She said: "Since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, An Garda Síochána has taken extensive action in support of public health restrictions.
"Gardaí have adopted a graduated policing response to the pandemic - engaging, educating, encouraging and only as a last resort enforcing relevant emergency regulations.
"This approach has been effective and is fully in keeping with the tradition of policing by consent."
"Garda checks since the beginning of July have found the vast majority of licenced premises to be in compliance with both health regulations and licensing laws.
"But the unfortunate reality is that some licensed premises are flouting the law, risking the health of their customers and the wider public."
"In bringing forward this new legislation, I want to ensure that Gardaí have the powers they need to act swiftly to deal with breach of these COVID-related regulations, where required."
The bill also has new grounds for objection to renewal of licences, in circumstances where it has been necessary to close a premises - or where a person has been convicted for being in breach.
Minister McEntee added: "These powers will be temporary and include a number of safeguards, including provision for appeal in respect of closure orders.
"In keeping with the graduated policing response adopted to date, I don’t expect that these powers will be used frequently.
"But I strongly believe that this new law will encourage better compliance with COVID regulations by publicans and restauranteurs, in the interests of all of our society."