Ireland has closed its nightclubs and implemented new Covid-19 measures for hospitality operations.
From today (7 December) until 9 January, Ireland’s nightlife venues are once again forced to close. The country’s nightclubs reopened fully on 22 October 2021 for the first time since March 2020.
Meanwhile, bars and restaurants are limited to table service only. Venues must restrict bookings to six people or less, and multiple table bookings from guests in the same party are not allowed. Social distancing measures of at least one metre between tables must be implemented, and masks must be worn when not seated.
Covid passports must also be used in hotel bars and restaurants.
Taoiseach (Irish prime minister) Micheal Martin revealed the new measures in a televised announcement last Friday (3 December).
“Across the country, many people in the hospitality and entertainment industries will be bitterly disappointed by this news. Many of them will be fearing for their livelihoods,” Martin said.
“I want to reassure them that just as we have done since the beginning of the pandemic, the government will stand by them and ensure that they have the financial supports necessary to weather this latest storm and to stay intact until we are out of it.”
Beverage sector trade organisation Drinks Ireland said it “noted” the government’s decision to implement further restrictions, and outlined the toll that the pandemic has taken on the trade so far: “The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on Ireland’s drinks industry, with venues closed or operating with restrictions since March 2020. Overall, alcohol sales fell by 6.6% last year. They continued to fall in the first half of 2021, down by 10.8%,” a Drinks Ireland spokesperson commented.
“Drinks suppliers will continue to do their part to support hospitality venues and encourage positive consumer behaviour in venues in the lead up to Christmas.”
We investigated the state of the European on-trade and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in our Global bar report.