Varadkar: No guarantee pubs will open on August 10

Varadkar: No guarantee pubs will open on August 10
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar: Pubs "will open no sooner than August 10". File Picture. 

The reopening of pubs on August 10 is not guaranteed, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has warned.

The government yesterday voted to pause the reopening of Irish society, with pubs that do not serve food being told they will not open on Monday as planned. The industry has called the decision "a hammer blow".

However, Mr Varadkar has warned pubs that their reopening on August 10 is not set in stone and will depend on the level of Covid-19 in the community.

"We are not saying pubs will open on August 10. We are saying they will open no sooner than then. It will depend on the numbers and on how the virus behaves between now and then," he said.

"We made it very clear from day one that this is a plan that could be accelerated if things were going in the right direction, could be paused if things were going offline and could be reversed if needed."

Kerry TD Michael Healy Rae asked the Tánaiste to consider the differences between rural pubs and those in urban settings. He said that it was not consistent that people could come to Ireland from abroad but people could not go to a rural pub. 

"Rural pubs are catering for smaller groups of people. They know their customers, and all they wanted to do is open up in a small way that the local people could come in from the countryside and have a drink," Mr Healy Rae said.

"You must remember there's an awful difference between Dame Lane and Ballinskelligs, and Dame Lane and Portmagee."

Mr Healy Rae said that there was "no difference between a person with a pint of Guinness and a toasted cheese sandwich and a pint of Guinness and no toasted cheese sandwich". 

During Leaders' Questions, Mr Varadkar spoke about the government's upcoming July stimulus package and said that the government may extend the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme until October and is examining continuing the rates waiver for businesses.

The plan will be signed off on Monday and published on Tuesday or Wednesday.

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