'Bitter disappointment': Micheál Martin confirms pubs to remain closed 

Phase Four of the reopening plan has been delayed, with indoor and outdoor gathering numbers also remaining unchanged
'Bitter disappointment': Micheál Martin confirms pubs to remain closed 
Acting Chief Medical Officer from Deptartment of Health Dr Ronan Glynn along with Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar and An Taoiseach Micheal Martin.  Picture: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has confirmed pubs will not reopen as planned next Monday, as Phase Four of the reopening plan is delayed. 

Nightclubs and casinos will also remain closed.

Indoor and outdoor gathering numbers also remain unchanged, and GAA match attendance figures will remain at 200.

The FAI and GAA had hoped crowd sizes would be allowed to increase to 500. 

Attendance at indoor events such as weddings remains capped at 50 people, while all pubs and restaurants serving food must now close at 11pm every evening.

This means the country will not move to Phase Four of its lockdown measures next Monday as planned.

“I know this will come as a bitter disappointment to many people, Mr Martin said.

Mr Martin ruled out reopening pubs on a regional basis, saying there were spikes in clusters and community transmission cases in many counties.

He also could not guarantee that pubs would reopen this year, adding that it depends on the prevalence of the virus.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin arriving at a Cabinet meeting in Dublin Castle. Picture: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Taoiseach Micheal Martin arriving at a Cabinet meeting in Dublin Castle. Picture: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Mr Martin also confirmed that the wearing of face coverings will be made mandatory in shops and shopping centres from August 10.

“When people are given clear direction, they follow it,” Mr Martin said.

Travel green list reviewed

The green list for travel was also reviewed. 

Cyprus, Gibraltar, Monaco, Malta and San Marino were removed and there were no additions to the list.

The Taoiseach said the increased rate of infection of Covid-19 in Ireland informed the decision. 

Mr Martin said Ireland needs to be vigilant given the increased figures here, and increased transmission abroad.

The Taoiseach also thanked the public for their "extraordinary sacrifices" in the battle against Covid-19. 

EARLIER: Tánaiste signals 'cautious' approach to pubs reopening

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has dampened hopes that pubs may reopen next week, on his way into a Cabinet meeting to discuss Phase 4 of the reopening plan.

Mr Varadkar said the government will be adopting a "cautious" approach for the next two weeks, which will be a "further blow" to some sectors that are not being reopened.

Mr Varadkar made his comments before a Cabinet meeting on the decision. Picture: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie
Mr Varadkar made his comments before a Cabinet meeting on the decision. Picture: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

There has been widespread speculation over whether pubs will be allowed to reopen.

Speaking earlier today, Independent TD Michael Healy-Rae called for the pubs to be reopened and for the Government to "listen to the people".

The Cabinet is meeting this evening to consider public health advice from the National Public Health Emergency team (NPHET). 

A decision is also expected on further GAA match attendance and also a review of the travel greenlist. 

Speaking at Dublin Castle, Mr Varadkar said: “We had a meeting with the acting chief medical officer just now and we’ll have a Cabinet meeting next and a decision will be made at Cabinet and we’ll announce it afterwards.

“What I can say is that it is an unfortunate truth that this pandemic is still raging across the world, and even in Europe where it is under relative control, we have seen an increase in cases across Europe, including here in Ireland.

Relative to other European countries, we are still doing quite well and we want to keep it that way.

“We want to make sure we do nothing that jeopardises the opening of schools and colleges in the next couple of weeks and that’s why, on the advice of NPHET, we will be recommending to Cabinet that we will take a very cautious approach over the next couple of weeks.

“I know that’s going to come as a further blow to some of the sectors that have not been reopened but we just can’t risk going backwards or risk the reopening of schools.”

Taoiseach Micheál Martin also addressed the press before the Cabinet meeting. 

Mr Martin said: “We just had a fresh briefing from the chief medial officer in respect of the advice from NPHET. It was very firm and we have a Cabinet meeting now and we’ll talk afterwards.” 

The Government has repeatedly said its main priority is the reopening of schools at the end of the month.

Concerns have been raised over the rising number of Covid-19 cases and clusters in recent weeks.

On Monday, there were 46 new coronavirus infections reported, bringing the total number of infections to 26,208 in the Republic.

Mr Martin is to confirm the Government’s decision following the Cabinet meeting later this evening. 

Publicans seek clarity as Cabinet set to announce whether they can open next week

Publicans say it is vital that they get clarity around reopening today.

They want clear guidelines so they can ensure they're ready to reopen as soon as they can.

Restricting the number of people allowed in a pub is one of the measures being considered by the government today.

The Cabinet is meeting to discuss whether the country can enter phase 4 of reopening on Monday.

Publicans have been waiting for confirmation. 
Publicans have been waiting for confirmation. 

Removing countries that have seen a rise in cases from the green list and the number of people permitted at events such as weddings are also on the agenda.

Raeltin O’Mara of O’Mara’s Pub in Kilkee, Co Clare says she has already implemented a number of public health measures.

"There's perspex up to protect the customers," she outlined. "We had moved a lot of the seats out so that social distancing can be kept."

Over the weekend in the town, gardaí made a number of public order arrests after a large number of young people gathered for a party.

Footage circulating on social media shows dozens of young people, many of whom are believed to be teenagers, cramped together, which locals say continued until after 3am.

The Vintners Federation of Ireland blasted the treatment of publicans, saying they are being used as a "messaging tool" by the government.

“It’s vital that our members open on August 10," VFI chief executive Padraig Cribben said.

"After the Government decision to postpone reopening at virtually the last minute three weeks ago, any further delay would bring many publicans to breaking point. They simply can’t survive much longer."

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