Irish pubs open after virus hiatus but Dublin stays dry

21 Sep 2020 / 17:11 H.

DUBLIN: Irish pubs reopened after a six-month shutdown on Monday but many in the capital, Dublin, remained under heightened coronavirus restrictions because of a surge of infections.

All of Ireland’s 7,000 pubs were shut by government order on March 16 -- the eve of the national St Patrick’s Day celebrations -- as the country was shut down.

On June 29, those serving food were permitted to reopen, but so-called “wet pubs” providing drinks only stayed shut.

Last week the government confirmed that while all pubs nationwide were permitted to open on Monday, Dublin’s drinking-only establishments would remain shuttered.

Dublin is facing tighter controls than the rest of Ireland because of an increase in new infections.

Prime minister Micheal Martin ordered Dubliners not to cross county lines, except for “work, education and other essential purposes”.

Indoor gatherings were also banned and household visits limited.

“Despite people’s best efforts over recent weeks, we are in a very dangerous place,“ he said in a national televised address last week.

“There’s a very real threat that Dublin could return to the worst days of this crisis.”

Under the new measures, which are in place for three weeks, only pubs hosting outdoor diners or serving takeaway food are permitted to serve the 1.3 million residents of Dublin city and county.

A total of 1,792 have died in Ireland’s coronavirus outbreak, according to latest department of health figures.

Daily deaths peaked at 77 in mid-April and have remained in single digits in recent weeks however the nation is witnessing a resurgence in new infections.

Health service data on Saturday showed Dublin’s 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 people at roughly double the nationwide figure. -AFP

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