Irish Pubs Face Prosecution for Virus Breaches

Niall Lawless puts up social-distancing signs at his Dublin pub Mary Mac’s on June 29 in preparation for customers returning. (Niall Carson/PA via AP)

DUBLIN (AFP) — Twenty-six Irish pubs face criminal prosecution for potential breaches of coronavirus regulations during their first weekend of trading since lockdown began, police said on Thursday.

From Friday evening to Sunday night, police found 2,785 licensed locations had reopened after Ireland entered the penultimate stage in its plan to end lockdown.

But police said there were “potential breaches” of health regulations and licensing laws at 26 locations even after warnings were issued for them to comply.

Customers were found drinking alcohol with no evidence of food also being ordered, as required by the legislation.

Large groups were seen sitting at single tables with “little to no social distancing,” and no contact tracing details were recorded, officers said.

A file is now being prepared for the director of public prosecutions in each of the 26 cases, said deputy commissioner John Twomey.

Images on social weekend last weekend showed crowds of drinkers in the streets of Dublin in breach of social distancing protocols, prompting fresh concerns about public health.

Prime Minister Micheal Martin said on Monday such behaviour could result in the delay of all pubs being allowed to open on July 20.

“If this behavior was to continue we would have to seriously review it,” he said. “We’re not happy with what transpired in certain locations over the weekend.”

A total of 1,738 people have died during the coronavirus outbreak in Ireland, according to the latest figures. But this week, there has been just one recorded death.

© Agence France-Presse

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