Leo Varadkar says it cannot be guaranteed that pubs will reopen on August 10

Leo Varadkar says it cannot be guaranteed that pubs will reopen on August 10
The Tánaiste said the decision would depend on NPHET advice. Picture: PA

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said he hopes pubs that do not serve food can reopen for business on August 10, but there are no guarantees.

Pub lobby groups have called on the Government to release guidelines that will allow them to reopen safely, after their previous reopening date was delayed due to an increase in coronavirus cases earlier this month.

Mr Varadkar told the Dáil he could not guarantee that the Cabinet will allow pubs to reopen as it will depend on what the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) advise.

“I would like to see pubs and bars open as well on August 10.

“If it’s possible for them to do so within the public health guidelines, and I hope we’ll be able to make that decision in the affirmative next Tuesday, allowing them to open on August 10, but I can’t guarantee that at this stage,” he said.

“I totally agree that pubs offer a huge amount of employment around the country, and also are really important to our social fabric, not just in rural areas, but in urban areas too,” he said.

Hospitality group Failte Ireland is expected to publish reopening guidelines for pubs in the coming days.

Mr Varadkar said he hopes NPHET’s advice will allow pubs to reopen but it will depend on the number of cases of Covid-19.

“I hope it’s a positive decision, but I can’t make that commitment right now,” he cautioned.

Fourteen new coronavirus cases were confirmed on Wednesday while no further deaths were reported for the fourth day in a row.

The total number of Covid-19 cases since the outbreak began is 25,942 while the death toll stands at 1,764.

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