Hundreds of pubs around the country will close their doors for without urgent financial assistance.
The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has recommended that the 3,500 pubs that have not opened to serve food should remain closed.
Meanwhile, Cabinet will today consider new legislation handing Gardaí powers to immediately close any premises found to be in breach of COVID-19 guidelines.
It comes after the acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn announced 93 more cases of the virus yesterday.
He again pushed back plans to reopen the country’s ‘wet’ pubs – and did not give any indication of when they might be able to open.
“We need a national focus over the next two weeks on getting the case numbers down,” he said.
“There are a set of measures already in place nationally so our focus has to be on getting case numbers down and controlling the spread of this disease.
“We will keep the reopening along with the other measures that might be able to be eased under review over the coming weeks.”
No new deaths were announced yesterday; however, the number of people in hospital with the virus rose to 29 – with five in intensive care.
Dr Glynn played down suggestions from the Taoiseach and Minister for Health that a second lockdown could be on the way.
“The cases, whilst not escalating rapidly, are continuing to escalate and if we continue along that road over a long period of time, we will more hospitalisations, we will see more people in critical care and it will have knock on effects for many parts of our society and our economy.
“We are not contemplating a national lockdown as we stand.”
The latest delay to the reopening of pubs means they will have been closed for six months of the year.
Paul Moynihan of the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) said many will never reopen if they are not offered immediate State supports.
“It is not loans we need; it is not loans at low rates,” he said. “We need grant aid at this stage unfortunately and we need it very quickly.
“There is no point in mentioning that we are going to do it in six weeks’ time, that something is going to be done. We need that money now to bide us over until we get open.
“The majority of small rural pubs around the country are still closed, in areas where there is nowhere else to socialise. If we want, as a country, for those pubs to be there next year, we have got to get them open.”
He said many publicans are now, “at their wits end financially, physically and mentally.”
“We would love to see now an announcement from Government,” he said. “Thank you for helping us out here, we are keeping your industry closed but here is the help we are going to offer you for the help you have given the country.”
Dr Glynn has said NPHET will keep the pub reopening plans under review.