Doubts cast over reopening of pubs in Dublin and Limerick after 'significant spike' in cases

Doubts cast over reopening of pubs in Dublin and Limerick after 'significant spike' in cases

"Dublin and Limerick on a knife-edge. Would not be surprised if we saw more restrictions there." Picture: Getty

Doubts have been cast over the re-opening of pubs in Dublin and Limerick after a senior Minister warned that we are at a "delicate moment" with Covid.

While Cabinet has approved the reopening of pubs across the country from September 21, Higher Education Minister Simon Harris raised the note of caution.

He said it was "important" that the Cabinet arrived at a decision on pubs as anomalies were beginning to emerge.

However, he warned: "Public health advice and the epidemiology of the virus at any time will always supersede that decision."

Mr Harris said the public, but especially those living in Dublin and Limerick, now need to take the advice of acting chief medical officer Ronan Glynn "very seriously".

"We are at a delicate moment in relation to Covid, we've had delicate moments before, moments where we've all been asked to redouble our efforts, our personal efforts in relation to minimising contacts, keeping distance and the hand washing and the respiratory etiquette.

"There is a particular concern highlighted by NPHET, in relation to Dublin and Limerick at the moment where we see a significant spike in cases."

Mr Harris warned about another potential trend in relation to hospitalisations.

"There is some concern in relation to the trend. I think at the start of August we were maybe seeing between three and five people a week admitted to hospital with Covid, that's now risen to somewhere between three to five a day."

Mr Harris pointed out that vintners had come to him earlier this year when he was Minister for Health asking that pubs be closed down as they were unable to comply with public health guidelines.

However, they have been saying "for some time" that they are now equipped to put measures in place to operate safely.

Mr Harris said the public, but especially those living in Dublin and Limerick, now need to take the advice of acting chief medical officer Ronan Glynn "very seriously".
Mr Harris said the public, but especially those living in Dublin and Limerick, now need to take the advice of acting chief medical officer Ronan Glynn "very seriously".

Mr Harris said pubs will be subject to strict guidelines and "it won't be the public experience that perhaps we were used to before".

Earlier, Cabinet agreed that "wet pubs" that do not serve food will reopen from September 21.

The proposal was agreed to in a bumper cabinet discussion early on Tuesday morning, after sustained lobbying by vintners as well as a number of TDs.

One senior source has confirmed to the Irish Examiner that although the reopening has been agreed, they would be subject "to any local restriction that may be in place in areas, and they'd have to effectively open with no bar service etc".

"Dublin and Limerick on a knife-edge. Would not be surprised if we saw more restrictions there."

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