THE Irish government has ordered all pubs, bars and hotel bars to close across the country from this evening until March 29 in an attempt to curb the ongoing spread of COVID-19.
With the ban coming into effect just days before St Patrick’s Day falls, people have also been warned not to attend house parties or any other place where they may "put other people's health at risk".
The statement, made this afternoon, explained: “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."
It added: “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."
The announcement follows calls for pubs to close in Ireland after footage from across the weekend revealed large groups of people partying together - some linking arms - rather than adhering to the Government's previous guidelines asking Irish citizens to employ social distancing techniques when out in public.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar tweeted the news this afternoon.
Following discussions today with the Licenced Vintners Association and Vintners Federation of Ireland, the Government is now calling on all public houses and bars including hotel bars to close from this evening until at least 29th March. Full statement attached pic.twitter.com/EMZeVZ0oVI
— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) March 15, 2020
The move comes in a weekend where confirmed cases of coronavirus in the Republic jumped to 169 and a second death was recorded within the country.