Irish government reveals evidence that motivated decision to delay reopening of pubs

Irish government reveals evidence that motivated decision to delay reopening of pubs

THE IRISH government has sought to clarify the reasons behind the decision to delay the reopening of pubs across the country. 

Bars and pubs had originally been set to reopen this coming Monday, August 10, following a previous delay to the date initially set for when they would return. 

However, the government has since moved to delay that key next step in the gradual reopening of the Irish economy. 

Last night, they released the evidence used to inform the decision as a direct response to calls from publicans calling to see evidence of a link between pubs reopening and a spike in Covid-19 cases. 

“The opening of pubs/bars represents a unique risk due to the consumption of alcohol and the challenge that represents when trying to encourage patrons to maintain social distancing and practice hand hygiene/respiratory etiquette,” the guidance said. 

The advice cited examples of cases in comparative countries like Spain, Australia, the United States, Canada and Korea where clusters of cases emerged in bars.  

News sources including the New York Times, RTÉ, BBC and the Guardian were also cited as key sources. 

Dr Glynn was keen to stress "there’s nothing magic about this evidence.” 

“If you Google ‘Covid… Pubs’ you’ll see this and what could easily happen. It’s happened all over the world: Aberdeen, various states in America, Sydney…” 

The acting Chief Medical Officer previously cited these concerns in a letter to the government, noting that “internationally, there have been a number of examples of outbreaks of Covid-19 in bars”. 

In a statement to The Journal, the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) explained that the recommendation to keep pubs closes was based on the current status of Covid-19 in Ireland as well as the significant risk associated with social gatherings. 

It also cited evidence of other outbreaks involving pubs and the current public health risk reopening pubs only serving alcohol would pose.