Pubs to remain closed in Ireland until August 10

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Pubs in Ireland that do not serve food are set to remain closed until August 10.

Currently only bars that provide a substantial meal are allowed to sell alcohol with it.

Ministers are expected to delay plans to fully reopen the industry from next week over concerns about the number of young people who have contracted Covid-19.

Face coverings are also set to be made mandatory in shops following Wednesday evening’s Cabinet meeting.

Medics have expressed concern about the number of coronavirus cases in recent weeks as lockdown eases.

Dr Ronan Glynn, acting chief medical officer at the Department of Health, said: “We are at a sensitive stage in the pandemic – this requires caution and collective effort to hold firm and keep the virus suppressed in the community.”

Two more people have died with Covid-19 in Ireland, the National Public Health Emergency Team said, bringing the total to 1,748.

As of midnight on Tuesday, the health system had been notified of 14 more confirmed cases.

Publicans said they would now lose 40% of their trading year following the delay in reopening.

Licensed Vintners’ Association’s (LVA) chief executive Donall O’Keeffe said: “This is a hammer blow for our industry.

“It does appear that pubs are being singled out. Pubs were first closed and last to reopen.

“No other part of the domestic economy is still shut. We have continually been placed in the last phase of the reopening road map.”

On Wednesday, Irish police said the vast majority of licensed premises had been found to be in compliance with regulations and licensing laws.

In 37 individual cases – including 26 during the weekend of July 3-5 – officers found potential breaches of health regulations or licensing laws even after providing premises with the opportunity to rectify the situation.

In all these cases, gardai found customers consuming alcohol but no evidence of food also being consumed and no evidence of receipts to show food had been sold.

John Twomey, deputy commissioner in charge of policing and security, said: “The continued high level of compliance among licensed premises is very welcome.

“However, there remains a minority who are putting their employees, their customers and their local community at risk of getting Covid-19.”

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