Pubs, hotel bars, nightclubs and casinos will remain closed and updates to ‘Green List’ see 5 countries and destinations removed following a cabinet meeting with the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) today.

Cyprus, Malta, Gibraltar, Monaco and San Marino were the 5 countries removed from the list, to which there were no additions. The government also made the decision to pause Phase 4 again following the delay last month. The cabinet also decided not to increase social gathering numbers following public health advice. 

Numbers would have been increased from 50 to 100 people for indoor gatherings and from 200 to 500 for gatherings held outdoors. Additional measures to make face coverings mandatory in all shops and shopping centres from the 10th of August were also introduced.

The second delay of Phase 4 brings up questions about on-campus life for domestic and international students attending UCD this year. The announcement that pubs and bars will not reopen may affect the University College Dublin (UCD) Clubhouse if Phase 4 remains paused in September. With numbers allowed at gatherings remaining lower than expected at this time plans for in-person class sizes may need to be reassessed. 

Taoiseach Michéal Martin said a review of these measures will take place within three weeks from August 10th, by August 31st. Martin stated that the reopening of schools and colleges a “national priority” and all measures will reflect that priority. 

In a statement to RTE before the meeting this evening Táiniste Leo Varadkar said NPHET were advising a “cautious approach” towards reopening pubs and the rest of the country. Minister of State for Special Education Josepha Madigan made a statement before the meeting on RTÉ’s Drivetime that the government does not want to jeopardise the reopening of schools. 

Speaking on the continued closure of pubs and other hospitality establishments, Taoiseach Michéal Martin admitted this would affect the industry greatly but that it was to continue with the “life-saving” measures. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar added that the country was in a “precarious” but “relatively good” situation and that the delay was necessary to hold onto Ireland’s progress. He also said that he wouldn’t speculate on the help that would be given to at-risk sectors such as the hospitality sector as a review of the ramifications for those sectors will be investigated.

Ann Jaffray – Reporter