By Claire Gordon • 17 December 2021 • 19:49
The Irish Cabinet has agreed that hospitality venues, cinemas and theatres should have a closing time of 20:00 to help curb the steep rise in infections that the new Omicron variant is threatening. The Ministers have decided on the Irish hospitality curfew after following advice from health officials.
The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) had originally recommended a 17:00 cut off from Monday. Taoiseach Micheál Martin did a televised address on the evening of Friday 17 December and announced that more than a third of the new Irish cases in recent days were due to the new variant.
“The Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus is exploding through Europe,” Mr Martin said.
“It is here, it is in our country and we are going to see a massive rise in infections.”
The cabinet has agreed that the measures will stay in place until 30 January, with that date being kept under review.
Other measures agreed on Friday include:
Earlier this month, the Irish government introduced measures that were expected to last until 9 January.
These included the closure of nightclubs, attendance limits on concerts and sporting fixtures and tighter restrictions on the hospitality sector.
Adrian Cummins, chief executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, tweeted: Huge anger across the Hospitality regarding NPHETs request to close at 5 pm. Why wasn’t the booster campaign rolled out faster? Why can’t those with boosters enter Hospitality premises using COVID pass if Gov approves 5pm Irish hospitality curfew? Where is the plan to keep Hospitality open viably”.
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