Ireland chief medical officer Ronan Glynn recommended on Thursday that pubs that serve alcohol remain closed as COVID-19 infections rise.
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"We want pubs to reopen, let's be clear about that. We want pubs to reopen safely. But since the end of June, we have seen a slow and steady deterioration of the profile of this disease in this country," Glynn said.
Ireland reopened food-serving pubs on June, under several biosecurity protocols. The 'wet' pubs, about 3,500, were expected to reopen on August 31. This would be the third delay after their closure in March and the first postponement in July.
Germany and Italy reopened bars and pubs in May, France, Spain, and the Netherlands followed the trend in June. England, Wales, and Scotland resumed the activities in July. Pubs in Sweden and Latvia remained open during the pandemic.
The government faces pressure from small business owners, who depend on pubs and other settlements for their livelihood, as they enforce the longest pubs' closure in the European Union.
"In the context of schools opening and the number of cases in the hospital beginning to rise, it's not the time to open pubs," Glynn added.
As of Friday, Ireland health authorities recorded 28,578 COVID-19 cases, 1,777 deaths, and 23,364 recoveries from the virus.