All pubs and bars in Ireland will shut today for at least two weeks.
The Government in the Republic of Ireland announced today that watering holes across the country would shut from midnight tonight.
They also urged people not to congregate at house parties, The Irish Mirror reported.
A statement from the government explained that it had been in discussion with the Licenced Vintners Association (LVA) and the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) before calling for the temporary closures.
“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,” the government spokesperson said.
“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 peoples’ health at risk.
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“The Government, having consulted with the Chief Medical Officer, believes that this is an essential public health measure given the reports of reckless behaviour by some members of the public in certain pubs last night.
“While the Government acknowledges that the majority of the public and pub owners are behaving responsibly, it believes it is important that all pubs are closed in advance of St Patricks’ Day.
“The Licenced Vintners Association (LVA) and the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) both supported this decision and urged all their members to close in line with the Government’s request.”
With St Patrick’s Day falling within the closure period – March 17 the financially and social impact of the decision will be significant.
Last year, an estimated two million people attended St. Patrick’s celebrations in Ireland.
Hundreds of layoffs in the country are predicted across hotel and restaurant industries due to expected lack of business.
It was announced today that a second person has died in the country having caught the coronavirus.
The total number of confirmed cases in the Republic is now 129, a rise of 39 in 24 hours.
In Northern Ireland five new cases were confirmed, bringing the total to 34.