Cabinet has agreed this morning to reimpose further restrictions on the hospitality sector. This involves an early closing time of midnight, starting from Thursday the 18th of November.

The move has been imposed due to the rise in COVID-19 cases, despite the measure not having been advised by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET).

Other measures announced today include the vaccination passes or proof of recovery being required on a statutory basis for cinemas and theatres, advice to work from home to begin for those who can and new guidelines for household close contacts.

In the event of a positive household case, all those close contacts living in the same household must restrict movements for 5 days pending the completion of antigen testing. 

The announcement of further restrictions will come as a huge blow to the hospitality industry who only saw the easing of an 11.30 pm closing time on the 22nd of October.

Speaking before the cabinet meeting this morning Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, said: ‘We’ve got to make decisions today but also I think collectively as a society we’ve got to look out for each other and just be very aware that the situation is getting worse, and will get worse before it gets better.’

In a statement reacting to the decision, the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) said ‘this will be extraordinarily difficult for those working in late bars, nightclubs and the rest of the late-night sector and will place considerable pressures on livelihoods in the run-up to Christmas.’

Conor Paterson – Co-Editor

Mahnoor Choudhry – Co-Editor