Ireland to expand longest pub lockout in Europe in the midst of rising coronavirus cases

Ireland is to keep its pubs shut – Europe’s longest such lockdown – to try to tame Covid-19 infection rates. Health officials have recommended that “wet” pubs that do not serve food should not open on 31 August, as previously planned.

It will be the third time authorities have extended restrictions on the pubs, which shut in March and were initially due to reopen in July. Pubs that serve food reopened in late June.

Ronan Glynn, Ireland’s acting chief medical officer, said on Thursday that wet pubs – about half of Ireland’s 7,000 pubs – should stay shut amid a rising weekly infection rate of 33 per 100,000 people.

“In the context of schools opening and the number of cases in hospital beginning to rise, it’s not the time to open pubs,” Glynn told a media briefing.

The government is expected to endorse the recommendation on Friday and to approve a crackdown on pubs that are open and violating restrictions. Police are to gain powers to shut a pub immediately if they believe there are breaches of public health guidelines.

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