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Hammer-blow: Plans to reopen pubs in Republic postponed amid concerns over increase in Covid-19 cases

The Irish Government has decided to postpone plans to reopen pubs until August 10 over concerns about the increase in new Covid-19 cases.

Pubs and nightclubs were due to reopen this coming Monday but the Cabinet has decided the push back the date over fears about the rise in coronavirus cases.

Central to the Government’s concerns are the rise in infections among younger people who are more likely to go to pubs or attend mass gatherings.

The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) yesterday warned the government against moving into the fourth stage of the roadmap for reopening the country.

Instead, public health officials said restrictions due to be eased on Monday should be delayed until August 10, which as originally suppose to be the fifth phase of the roadmap.

The Cabinet is also expected to recommend that face coverings become mandatory in inside settings. They will also say foreign travel should be discouraged.

The Vintners' Federation of Ireland (VFI) said that publicans have been dealt a "hammer blow" by the decision.

They say it will have huge ramifications for family-run pubs across Ireland.

“This is a shocking decision not to proceed with the planned reopening of pubs and will be a hammer blow to thousands of pubs and their local communities around the country.

"The vast majority of these pubs are small rural outlets run by families who are on first-name terms with their customers and far removed from the crowded venues that concern NPHET," said VFI Chief Executive Padraig Cribben.

“Publicans are reeling from this news. They did everything asked of them by remaining shut for over four months and our members had a reasonable expectation the sector would reopen next Monday. All other phases went smoothly so to now tell publicans they can’t open like the rest of the hospitality sector makes little sense. This is a decision made by politicians who appear divorced from reality about life in rural Ireland," he added.

A "major support package" is urgently needed for pubs which have been closed for five months, the federation added, which would include grants of €20,000 to €50,000.