Break: Curfew reinstated for bars and nightclubs as government vows to tighten restrictions amid the wave

All hotel businesses will have to close before midnight starting Thursday evening, as new restrictions are reintroduced in response to the upsurge in Covid cases.

Cabinet has just agreed on the new curfew time – reversing the easing of opening hours restrictions introduced on October 22.

This is yet another blow to the late-night hospitality sector, which has only had a few short weeks of opening after 18 months of repeated blockages.

Cork clubs had been working hard to comply with the new rules, setting up ticketing systems within days.

The Taoiseach had promised advance notice of changes for different sectors as more restrictions are expected to follow – the Cabinet discussed extending vaccination card requirements to businesses, including movie theaters, gyms, hairdressers and barbers at a five o’clock meeting last night.

We’re still waiting for a decision on this – with an announcement expected later today.

Reacting to the news, the Restaurants Association of Ireland called on the government to immediately reactivate the COVID Recovery Support Scheme (CRSS) for hotels affected by the decline in business due to mixed messages from the government.

CEO Adrian Cummins said: “The narrative of reduced social contact places de facto restrictions on hospitality businesses at a critical time for the industry as Christmas approaches.

“The hospitality industry is seeking a meeting with government officials to discuss maintaining wage supports through mid-2022.”

Stopping to speak to reporters on his way to the Cabinet meeting this morning, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the very latest advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team would be heeded.

This includes new advice for people to work from home unless it is absolutely necessary.

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Mr. Martin warned that “the situation is getting worse and will get worse before it gets better.”

And he said Ireland must look to collective responsibility to stop the latest wave – which has put intensive care units and health services in general under great pressure.

He said everyone has an obligation to reduce social interactions to help reduce transmission.

“The overall goal is to prevent people from getting very sick, from going to hospitals, intensive care.

“We just need to limit the increase we are experiencing right now,” Martin said.

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