Coronavirus: Ireland closes all pubs and bars days before St Patrick's Day
15 March 2020, 19:46 | Updated: 15 March 2020, 20:43
Ireland will close all pubs and bars from midnight through St Patrick's Day in a bid to halt coronavirus.
All pubs and bars in Ireland will be closed for at least two weeks, it has been revealed. This will also mean that the ban will take place during St Patrick's Day on March 17.
The Republic of Ireland government also urged people not to congregate at house parties.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar tweeted that pubs and clubs should not have gatherings of more than 100 people during this stage of the coronavirus outbreak, and said he could seek enforcement powers from the Dail or Seanad.
He wrote: "No indoor mass gatherings of more than 100 people applies to pubs & clubs. Have asked NPHET for further expert guidance on this. May seek enforcement powers from Dail/Seanad."
All pubs and nightclubs in Dublin's popular Temple Bar are to close amid the coronavirus outbreak "with immediate effect".
In a statement, Temple Bar Company said: "In the interest of public health and following advice from An Garda Siochana and the health authorities The Temple Bar Company and its members have today decided that all pubs and nightclubs in Temple Bar will close their premises voluntarily with immediate effect.
"And will do so until further advice by the relevant authorities.
"This decision was taken in light of the experiences of members of The Temple Bar Company over the last few days when it proved impossible to follow the public health advice to limit numbers and adequately implement measures to control social distancing.
"Members of The Temple Bar Company felt it was inappropriate to request the diversion of Garda resources away from more pressing needs.
"As part of the effort to avoid the spread of the Covid-19 virus, The Temple Bar Company will intensify its disinfecting and power-washing of the streets and public spaces in the Temple Bar area as required."
Health Minister Simon Harris has welcomed the decision taken by Temple Bar publicans in Dublin to close pubs and clubs immediately.
He tweeted: "Sensible decision from Temple Bar. Public Health Emergency Team will meet tomorrow & will consider further pubs etc, as requested by @LeoVaradkar . But remember we can make some decisions - It's up to YOU though to do your bit, not anyone else. Basic cop on goes a long way."
All pubs and bars in the Republic of Ireland have been ordered to close from Sunday evening to tackle the Covid-19 outbreak.
In a statement, the government said: "Following discussions today with the Licenced Vintners Association (LVA) and the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI), the Government is now calling on all public houses and bars (including hotel bars) to close from this evening (Sunday 15th March) until at least 29 March.
"The LVA and VFI outlined the real difficulty in implementing the published Guidelines on Social Distancing in a public house setting, as pubs are specifically designed to promote social interaction in a situation where alcohol reduces personal inhibitions.
"For the same reason, the Government is also calling on all members of the public not to organise or participate in any parties in private houses or other venues which would put other people's health at risk."