Pubs to remain closed: 'I know this will come as a bitter disappointment to many people'

Pubs to remain closed: 'I know this will come as a bitter disappointment to many people'
Michael O'Donovan of the Castle Inn, 99 South Main Street Cork CityPicture: Eddie O'Hare

Pubs, nightclubs, and casinos are to remain closed for at least another three weeks.

This evening, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the Government has decided that the current public health measures will remain as they are and the country will not proceed to measures which form part of Phase 4 of the re-opening plan. 

This means pubs will remain closed, and the number of people permitted to attend both indoor and outdoor gatherings will remain the same.

The measures will be reviewed in three weeks.

The Taoiseach also announced that the wearing of face coverings will be mandatory at shops and in shopping centres from August 10th.

He said he was not in a position to "give better news".

"Evidence of increased transmission is even more clear," Mr Martin added.

"I know this will come as a bitter disappointment to many people.

"The cabinet has agreed to continue with the current public health measures that are in place.

"Therefore pubs and bars, nightclubs and casinos will remain closed.

"The current restriction on numbers attending indoor and outdoors gatherings will remain unchanged."

Meanwhile, the Government has narrowed its number of so-called ‘Green List’ destinations.

Malta, Cyprus, San Marino, Gibraltar and Monaco have all been removed from the list.

No new additions have been made.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said the decision to delay the move to Phase Four will come as a "blow" to many businesses.

He said grants will be in place when the time comes to reopen.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said that Ireland has been "doing well", adding that there has been no Covid-19 fatalities in the last nine days.

Michael O'Donovan of the Castle Inn, 99 South Main Street Cork CityPicture: Eddie O'Hare
Michael O'Donovan of the Castle Inn, 99 South Main Street Cork CityPicture: Eddie O'Hare

However, he added: "Two weeks ago we had 120 new cases, last week we had 284 new cases.

"We are not moving to Phase Four. The green list is being updated and narrowed.

"We will be increasing the public health presence at airports.

"Our testing and tracing regime is getting quicker and being improved all the time."

No further deaths with coronavirus have been reported in Ireland by the National Public Health Emergency Team, leaving the national total at 1,763.

However, 45 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 have been notified, bringing the total number of Irish infections to 26,253.

Of these new cases, 77% are aged under 45, and 31 are associated with outbreaks or are close contacts of a confirmed case.

Ireland's acting chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn said that it is the "right decision" not to move to the next phase of lockdown easing.

"We have seen a concerning increase in the disease incidence in Ireland over the last seven days," he added.

"We must ensure we are in the best position possible to manage any further rise in cases that might occur here in Ireland.

"We understand the recommendations will be disappointing to many, but it is important that we protect the progress that we have achieved.

"Our priority over the next three weeks is continuing every effort to slow the spread of the virus so our schools can reopen."

Dr Ronan Glynn warned that a "significant proportion" of new cases are being found in those under the age of 45.

He also urged anyone concerned that they have coronavirus symptoms to contact their GP.

"This is the only way we will break the chain of transmission," he added.

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