Tánaiste Leo Varadkar gave the strongest indication to date that the reopening of pubs will once again be postponed.
Speaking before a Cabinet meeting this evening, Mr. Varadkar cited the recent spike in new COVID-19 cases in Ireland and across Europe as grounds for a "very cautious" approach to be taken by the government on the advice of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) over the coming weeks.
"Relative to other European countries we are still doing quite well, we want to keep it that way and we want to make sure we do nothing that jeopardises the opening of schools and colleges in the next couple of weeks,” Varadkar said.
“That’s why on the advice of NPHET, we will be recommending to Cabinet that we will be taking a very cautious approach for the next couple of weeks," he added.
The Tánaiste said this will come as a “further blow" to some sectors that have not been reopened but added that “we can’t risk going backwards or risk the schools reopening”.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin postponed the reopening of pubs last month until August 10 over fears about an increase in the number of new Covid-19 cases.
Speaking before today's meeting, the Taoiseach said NPHET gave "very firm" advice. An official statement is expected later today after the Cabinet meeting.
Padraig Cribben, Chief Executive of the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) has said his members “simply can’t survive much longer” with the closures.
“After the Government decision to postpone reopening at virtually the last minute three weeks ago, any further delay would bring many publicans to breaking point. Our members feel the Government is using the trade as a convenient ‘messaging tool’ to capture public attention,” he said.