26 pubs could be prosecuted for failing to adhere to COVID-19-related health and safety guidelines after reopening on June 29.
According to rte.ie, An Garda Síochána said that Gardaí carried out 6,380 checks on approximately 3,000 licensed premises across the Republic of Ireland during the weekend of July 4, and, while most venues were found to be adhering to health and safety guidelines, some had to be warned about breaches before complying, and files relating to 26 premises that did not adhere to guidelines will be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions, who will decide how many of them will be brought to court.
The checks on venues were carried out as part of Operation Navigation, which was set up to ensure that drinks venues are complying with guidelines meant to help lessen the spread of COVID-19.
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In some of the venues that they investigated, Gardaí said that customers were found to be consuming alcohol without any evidence of also consuming food.
Drinks venues that serve food were permitted to reopen on June 29 under the condition that they can only sell alcohol to customers who also purchase a meal for a minimum of €9. The penalty for not adhering to this rule can be a €2,500 fine and/or up to six months in jail.
In addition to breaches of the food rule, Gardaí also said that some pubs did not enforce social distancing, did not have advisory signage and did not have COVID-19 contact tracing recorded, and, while some pubs that were found to be in breach of health and safety guidelines complied with them following warnings from Gardaí, 26 venues have been identified for possible prosecution.
Wider Reopening Under Review
The news follows the announcement that the planned wider reopening of pubs on July 20 is now under review due to concerns about social distancing, or the lack thereof, outside of drinks venues after crowds of people gathered outside some drinks venues over the weekend of July 4 without keeping the required distance from one another, and assertions from the chief executives of both the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) and Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) that pubs that are not adhering to health and safety guidelines should face consequences such as being shut down.
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