Closed Dublin pubs will not be able to reopen along with those in the rest of Ireland as part of tailored restrictions to tackle spiralling infection rates in the city.
While Dublin city and county has been given the same ‘Level 2’ status as the rest of the country under the Government’s new Covid-19 threat classification system, they will be subject to some additional limitations.
Relaxations on people attending sporting events, which allow for crowds of up to 200 at larger stadiums, will also not apply to Dublin.
Level 2 allows people to participate in gatherings at home and outside of six people from no more than three other households.
People living in and around the capital have also been encouraged to limit travel outside the area and, if they do travel, only meet one other household when outside the county.
Pubs serving food were able to open nationwide at the end of June. Those that do not serve food are set to reopen on September 21 but Dublin establishments have now been excluded from that plan.
The prevalence of the virus in the city – 95 cases per 100,000 people – is 50% higher than the next worst affected county.
Ireland’s deputy premier Leo Varadkar, a TD for Dublin West, said he wanted to make a special appeal to the people of his city.
“The situation in our capital is worrying and has deteriorated in the past few weeks,” he said.
“The level of the virus circulating in our city and county has increased more than tenfold in the past two months.
“The positivity ratio is around 3.5% against around 2% in the rest of the country.
“If this continues, it may not be possible to keep the virus out of our hospitals, nursing homes and factories no matter how hard we try.
“We’ll experience a second wave of hospitalisations, people needing admission to ICU and sadly more deaths.”
“And that’s what we have to do now. We can flatten the curve in Dublin again and, in doing so, protect the rest of Ireland from its spread.”
Taoiseach Micheal Martin was asked why Dublin was not classified at Level 3, rather than Level 2 with additional restrictions.
He said moving to Level 3 was a significant step and would result in major limitations on citizens.
Mr Martin said the numbers related to the virus in Dublin were “going in the wrong direction”.
“We’re very concerned about it,” he said.
“And that’s why we’re appealing to people in terms of their personal behaviour, in terms of household gatherings to keep them to the absolute minimum, reduce your contacts and adhere to the public health guidance in order to try and avoid getting to a Level 3 situation, which is very significant and has a very significant impact on people’s needs.”
Health minister Stephen Donnelly said Dublin was not being pitted against the rest of the country.
“Moving from Level 2 to Level 3 has a serious impact on jobs, it has a serious impact on how we can live our lives.”
“We’re all watching what’s going on in Dublin, the people of Dublin understand that the situation is escalating very, very quickly and people in Dublin, I think, welcome the public health doctors providing this advice.”