Gardai will this evening start carrying out checks on pubs and restaurants to ensure they are complying with public health guidelines.
In a statement issued after a Cabinet subcommittee on the Covid-19 emergency, the government said “strong enforcement measures” will be taken against businesses failing to comply with the health rules.
The Committee “expressed concerns” that pubs operating as restaurants were not adhering to Covid guidelines.
“The Government will review a report on compliance from the relevant state authorities, including An Garda Síochána, the public health, and health and safety authorities, at its meeting on Monday,” it said.
“Strong enforcement measures will be taken against premises that are not operating in accordance with public health guidelines.
“Beginning this weekend, An Garda Síochána will conduct checks of licenced premises nationwide in relation to adherence to the public health guidelines,” it added.
Gardai will begin carrying out the searches under Operation Navigation from 7pm this evening.
Deputy Commissioner, Policing and Security, John Twomey said that the initiative comes as some publicans and customers seem to be ignoring the regulations.
“When licenced premises were initially shut under the public health guidelines An Garda Síochána checked thousands of licensed premises to ensure they remained closed, which the vast, vast majority did.
“Our intention in this latest phase was to conduct a large number of spot-checks of licensed premises. However, it now appears that just a few days after their introduction some licensed premises and their customers are ignoring the public health guidelines.
“By doing so, they are putting themselves and everyone they then come into contact with at risk of getting COVID-19. This is not acceptable and we are now expanding our planned checks.”
The Government has also eased mass gathering rules for religious services and drafted guidelines for places of worship where more than 50 people can attend.
The committee said each premises should carry out a review to determine how many people they can safely hold.
They decided that where the size of the premises allows for a capacity of greater than 50 this may be permitted only if social distancing guidelines can be adhered to.
The building must be divided into distinct sections of no more than 50 people and there must be a minimum of four metres between the sections.
Each section is required to have separate entrances and exits. There should also be strictly no movement of people between sections before, during or after the service. Face coverings are also advised during services.
“Account must also be taken regarding the risk of congregation by people outside before and after any services, having regard to outdoor overall limits on mass gatherings and arrangements for staggered exiting after ceremonies,” the statement added.
More to follow...