Irish bars and pubs close over ‘reckless behaviour’By Owen Bellwood
Pubs and bars across Ireland have been ordered to close until at least 29 March due to “reckless behaviour” as consumers failed to adhere to social distancing guidelines put in place due to coronavirus.
Following discussions between the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) and the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI), the Irish government called on bars, pubs and hotel bars to close their doors last night (15 March) until the end of the month.
According to the LVA and VFI, the move came about as “pubs are specifically designed to promote social interaction in a situation where alcohol reduces personal inhibitions”, which may make it harder to enforce social distancing guidelines.
For the same reason, the government is also calling on all members of the public not to organise or participate in any private parties that could put people’s health at risk.
In a statement, the government said the move was an “essential public health measure given the reports of reckless behaviour by some members of the public in certain pubs”.
Dr Tony Holohan, chief medical officer, Department of Health, said: “The National Public Health Emergency Team and the health sector in its entirety has been preparing for the effects of covid-19 (coronavirus) on our population.
“Now, we need citizens to follow these new measures and help us protect the most vulnerable in our society, help our health service treat this virus effectively and ultimately keep each other as healthy as possible.”
Iconic venues, such as The Temple Bar in Dublin, have welcomed the move ahead of St Patrick’s Day tomorrow (17 March).
In a statement on its Facebook page, The Temple Bar in Dublin said: “In the interest of the safety of our staff and patrons we believe it is the best interest to close our doors until further notice.”
The government will continue to monitor the situation in Ireland to determine if any further or different measures may be required in the future.
The effectiveness of the guidelines on social distancing will also be kept under review and will be subject to further consultation with stakeholders in the coming days.
Non-essential public spaces
The advice in Ireland follows similar moves across Europe and the US.
Over the weekend, French president Emmanuel Macron ordered “non-essential public spaces” in France to shut their doors, which included the closure of bars, restaurants, cinemas and galleries across the country.
In Spain, bars and nightclubs were forced to close as the country went into lockdown. In Germany, bars, clubs, cinemas and sports facilities were also ordered to close to help mitigate the spread of the virus.
In the US, Washington, New York and Los Angeles have closed all bars and nightclubs in an effort to reduce the effects of coronavirus, with only pickup and delivery from restaurants allowed.