PUBS in Ireland unable to serve food to their customers may not be allowed to reopen again until March, according to reports.
So-called 'wet pubs' have been more-or-less completely closed since March 2020, and it now looks likely they're to spend an entire calendar year with their doors shut.
Reports emerging this morning suggest that due to a recent rise in Covid-19 cases in Ireland, coupled with the imminent mixing of families over the Christmas period, Ireland's hospitality industry is set to take another major hit.
This is despite the fact that zero Covid-19 outbreaks in the country have been linked to pubs or restaurants since lockdown ended at the start of the month.
The hope is that wet pubs might be able to open in time for St Patrick's Day 2021, but nothing is certain.
According to Dublin Live, the Government has decided to keep wet pubs closed for another three months ahead of the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
It's understood that in the New Year, Ireland will enter Level Three restrictions, which means that gastropubs and restaurants will only be able to open on a takeaway and delivery basis until further notice.
Meanwhile, Ireland's Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan has urged the people of Ireland to stay home, and avoid visiting pubs and restaurants in the run up to Christmas.
Taking to Twitter on Sunday, he wrote: "Cases rising quickly. We have low cases and deaths compared to EU/UK/US. This is at risk now - just as vaccines arrive.
"To protect yourself and those you love: Stay home. Don't meet up.
"Stay away from restaurants/pubs. Avoid crowds. Use masks. Follow health advice."
Ireland's pubs have taken the brunt of Covid-19 closures over the past 10 months. The 'substantial meal' rule has meant that over 50% of the nation's pubs have been unable to open since the pandemic began back in March.
Businesses have been unable to capitalise on what would usually be a busy summer period, and crucially, what would typically be a busy Christmas period.