All pubs and bars across the country will close from tonight until March 29 due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
The Health Minister confirmed the move at a press conference this evening following a meeting with the Licenced Vintners Association (LVA) and the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI).
It will come into effect from pubs and bars’ closing hours tonight.
Speaking tonight from the Department of Health, Minister Harris said: “The pub is a place of social interaction. We know when people consume alcohol it can remove inhibitions, it can be hard to tell people in such an environment to keep their social distance.
“Therefore in the interest of public health, all pubs and bars in Ireland will close effective this evening until March 29 in line with the time period we have in place for school closures.
“This will of course be kept under review and we are absolutely committed to working with the industry to continue to see other ways that pubs may be able to provide other services.
“I am conscious that public health must and will come first in this global and national pandemic but I’m also conscious that there’s about 50,000 people across the country who work in the pub trade.
“I’m conscious that there’s about 7,000 pubs in the country and I’m conscious that I’m speaking to people tonight that this is going to come as a shock and a worry to say the very least.
“I’m conscious that those people will be without employment for a period of weeks and of course, while all of us are dealing with a public health crisis, are thinking of them.