The Irish government has announced that drinks venues that do not serve food will remain closed until at least August 31.
Drinks venues that do not serve food had been hoping to reopen on August 10, but their planned reopenings have been postponed by a minimum of a further three weeks due to a more than twofold increase in the number of new coronavirus cases in the country in recent weeks.
Health minister Stephen Donnelly said that the number of new confirmed coronavirus cases in Ireland increased from 120 two weeks ago to 284 last week.
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Taoiseach Micheál Martin stated that the possible August 31 reopening date for drinks venues that do not serve food will be reviewed again in three weeks, but that there is no guarantee about when they will be permitted to reopen.
As reported by The Irish Independent, Martin said, "A lot depends upon the prevalence of the virus and how high a number we get or how low.
"If we nip this in the bud, there may be prospects [for drinks venues that do not serve food to reopen before the end of the year], but we can't give any guarantees right now."
The Taoiseach said that the priority is to save lives, protect the vulnerable and reopen schools.
Drinks Venues That Serve Food And Restaurants
Drinks venues that serve food and restaurants, which were permitted to reopen on June 29 under the conditions that they serve each customer a meal worth at least €9, limit the time customers spend on their premises to a maximum of 105 minutes, enforce social distancing in their venues and implement a number of other health and safety measures, can remain open as long as they continue to adhere to the required health and safety guidelines and close by 11pm.
In relation to the time at which drinks venues that serve food and restaurants are required to close, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said, "It's 11pm, but obviously they can stay open for takeaways and deliveries, and for staff to clean up and all that. But the customer should be off the premises by 11pm.
"What we want to stop is what was kind of happening, which is pubs or restaurants were kind of operating almost as pubs, so that's a risk."
Gathering Restrictions And Face Coverings In Shops
Additionally, indoor public gatherings will continue to be limited to 50 people and outdoor gatherings will be limited to 200 people until at least August 31, and the wearing of face coverings in shops will be mandatory from August 10.
In relation to house parties, Martin said, "We would urge people to curtail house parties in accordance with the guidelines."
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