Operation Navigation is continuing this bank holiday weekend as gardaí visit pubs to ensure they are complying with Covid-19 regulations.
Regulations currently allow pubs to only reopen if they can serve food, while also enforcing social distancing and limiting customer time to 105 minutes.
Any licensed premises found to be in breach of the rules could be prosecuted, with 80 identified since the operation began a month ago.
Infectious diseases expert Professor Sam McConkey says drinking like the year is 2019 is now a thing of the past: “The big crowded pub, with people five-deep all queuing up at the bar, that sort of 2019 drinking vision that we all enjoyed, you know, isn’t a good thing to prevent SARS-CoV-2 transmission.”
He says the reopening of all pubs on August 10th could still go ahead, but in a very controlled way: “Drinking outdoors, sitting down, tables two-metres apart, sitting at tables with people you live with, with table service with somebody wearing a face mask, that’s relatively feasible.”
August 10th reopening
Pubs will not receive clarity on if they can reopen until after the bank holiday, with the Government meeting next Tuesday to decide if Phase Four of the Republic’s reopening will go ahead.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said they want to see if there is a stable trend in the number of new cases before making the decision, after 85 cases were confirmed in a single day this week.
Nearly three quarters of those cases were among people under the age of 45.
The Taoiseach says a cautious approach is being taken: “You see what’s happening in France, you see what’s happening in Germany, you see what’s happening in Spain. These numbers are going up very, very significantly at a rapid pace.
“The lessons for us really there are, you know, we’ve got to pace how we reopen, we’ve got to take stock.”