Coronavirus latest: Temple Bar pubs to close amid outrage over mobbed scenes

Coronavirus latest: Temple Bar pubs to close amid outrage over mobbed scenes
Temple Bar almost empty of Tourists Dublin City centre this afternoon

Temple Bar pubs have decided to close following scenes of mobbed streets and bars last night, which were widely criticised. 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar publicly re-stated today that pubs and clubs should not have gatherings of more than 100 people during this stage of the coronavirus outbreak, and said he could seek enforcement powers from the Dáil or Seanad.

Mr Varadkar wrote: "No indoor mass gatherings of more than 100 people applies to pubs & clubs. May seek enforcement powers from Dail/Seanad."

In a statement, Temple Bar Company said: "In the interest of public health and following advice from An Garda Siochana and the health authorities The Temple Bar Company and its members have today decided that all pubs and nightclubs in Temple Bar will close their premises voluntarily with immediate effect.

"And will do so until further advice by the relevant authorities.

"This decision was taken in light of the experiences of members of The Temple Bar Company over the last few days when it proved impossible to follow the public health advice to limit numbers and adequately implement measures to control social distancing.

"Members of The Temple Bar Company felt it was inappropriate to request the diversion of Garda resources away from more pressing needs.

"As part of the effort to avoid the spread of the Covid-19 virus, The Temple Bar Company will intensify it's disinfecting and power-washing of the streets and public spaces in the Temple Bar area as required."

Speaking about the disregard for social distancing, prominent Cork publican Benny McCabe said the people of Cork seem to be getting the message. He said there were no busy pubs in Cork last night and most of them closed down in orderly fashion.

“I feel sorry for the tourists that are stuck here, but it is all or nothing in my opinion. We need a complete lockdown, it is pointless otherwise."

Mr McCabe said he reached the decision early last week after he consulted with the Government in relation to the aid that was available, spoke to Revenue, lenders and suppliers, and agreed to hit the pause button.

“It is a pause on business. For two weeks, three weeks, I don't know. If everyone plays ball with everyone else, there will be no real impact.

“There will be an impact, in that, what is gone is gone, in terms of the loss of business, we will never get that back, but as long as we can open up again.

“As far as I am concerned the Irish people bailed out the banks, it's time for the Irish government and everyone else to play ball with the Irish people. There should be no evictions or threats from landlords, for staff who can’t pay their rent.

"The Government needs to implement a blanket ban on evictions."

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