Pubs pull pints once again as Ireland takes next steps out of lockdown

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Pints were pulled in pubs across Ireland again as the country took another stride out of lockdown.

Bars that serve food were able to welcome back customers on Monday after phase three of the Government’s recovery plan came into force.

Gyms, pools and cinemas are also allowed to open, while small congregations can attend church services again.

Parishioners attended morning mass on both sides of the border on Monday, as similar relaxations related to places of worship came into effect in Northern Ireland.

It has been three-and-a-half months since pubs have been allowed to serve customers inside the premises.

Those serving food are now allowed to trade and sell alcohol, so long as a meal worth nine euro is also served.

Coronavirus – Mon Jun 29, 2020
Niall Lawless, the owner of Mary Mac’s pub in Dublin, putting up social distancing signs in preparation for customers returning (Niall Carson/PA)

“It makes life a little bit more real,” he said.

The Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) said that pubs reopening marked a “milestone moment in the recovery of the country”.

The LVA urged publicans to ensure they take responsibility and make sure social distancing guidelines are being met.

“With the public health situation improving, the reopening of pubs will be an indicator of Ireland’s emergence from the lockdown,” said chief executive of the LVA, Donall O’Keeffe.

“It will signal to the outside world that our country is beginning the journey back to normality and our economy is once again open for business.”

Pubs that do not serve food will be allowed to reopen on July 20.

Coronavirus – Mon Jun 29, 2020
Archbishop Eamon Martin, the leader of the Catholic church in Ireland, gives holy communion to a parishioner during mass at St Patrick’s Catholic Cathedral in Armagh (Liam McBurney/PA)

Among them was deputy premier Leo Varadkar, who got his hair cut ahead of the first meeting of the Ireland’s newly formed cabinet.

“Lunchtime hair trimming, finally,” he tweeted in Irish.

In Athy, Co Kildare, Kathleen Grufferty was one of the first back into the hairdressing chairs at the House of LA salon.

“I’m very excited to be back and feel normal again,” she said.

“I was in at 9am this morning, it was great – one of the first.”

Kathleen Grufferty has her hair coloured by Sabrina Finn at the House of LA Salon in Athy, Co Kildare (Niall Carson/PA)

Mass gatherings, including weddings, of 50 people indoors and 200 people outdoors are now also allowed.

Also on Monday, face coverings have become compulsory on public transport as capacity on buses, trains and trams increased from 20% to about 50%.

Wearing a face covering in crowded situations such as public transport was already being strongly recommended.

HEALTH Coronavirus Ireland
(PA Graphics)

She said: “This is an important part of efforts to build confidence in public transport as more people return to work over the coming weeks and months.

“At this stage, our focus and that of the operators is on education, awareness and giving our customers every encouragement to wear a face covering.”

One more Covid-19 death was confirmed in Ireland on Sunday, bringing the death toll to 1,735.

A further three cases of coronavirus were confirmed, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 25,439.

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