New proposed laws will allow pubs and nightclubs across Ireland to stay open later as a means of boosting the sector post-pandemic.
According to The Sunday Times, Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee is planning a reform of licensing laws, which would see city centre nightclubs open their doors past 2:30 am.
Under the reform, Sunday pub hours would also be extended in line with weekday trading hours. The overhaul would permit pubs to serve until 12:30 am on Saturdays and Sundays.
The proposal includes new categories of alcohol licenses for cultural venues such as theatres and special event licenses would also be granted for marquee weddings and other one-off occasions.
It is understood that the reform plan, containing the proposed extended hours for pubs and nightclubs, will be announced by Minister Helen McEntee tomorrow (Monday, February 22nd).
No consider of re-opening of hospitality sector before mid-summer
Speaking on RTE’s Raidio na Gaeltachta, yesterday (Saturday, February 20th), An Taoiseach Micheal Martin, said that “no consideration” will be given to re-opening the hospitality sector before mid-summer.
“While I am happy that we are making progress with the vaccination programme, any easing of the restrictions has to be slow and cautious because of the threat from new variants of the disease.”
“These variants are our biggest concern for managing the disease in the immediate future. What the public health authorities are saying is that we stick with this until end of April, then we reflect on the situation and make decisions about the months ahead.”
In response to the leader’s remarks, the Restaurants Association of Ireland, CEO Adrian Cummins, said that restaurants and hospitality businesses will now be “closer to financial ruin and meltdown”.
“The Government now needs to increase the level of business supports for all hospitality businesses in order for the survival of the sector and remain ready to reemploy hundreds of thousands of tourism and hospitality workers currently on the PUP payment.”
“The Government needs to clarify if mid-summer for reopening is the start of June or the start of July as businesses will need to plan for reopening with public health allows.”
988 new cases and 24 death
The news comes after public health officials reported a further 988 cases of Covid-19 and 24 deaths. The nationwide distribution of cases is as follows: 378 are in Dublin, 68 in Galway, 61 in Kildare, 47 in Limerick, and 45 in Louth.
Meanwhile, the remaining 389 cases are spread across all other counties in Ireland.
The latest figures, announced by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), bring to the total number of cases recorded in Ireland to 214,378 since the pandemic began.