Ireland will not move forward to Phase Four of the country’s coronavirus exit plan, it has been announced.
This means pubs and bars, nightclubs and casinos will remain closed, and the current restriction on indoor and outdoor gatherings “will remain unchanged”.
Taoiseach Michael Martin acknowledged the news would come as a “bitter disappointment to many people”.
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Officials announced a new three-week delay to the full reopening of leisure venues and further restricted travel following a surge of Covid-19 infections.
The number of cases doubled, with health officials reporting an average of 46 cases per day over the past seven days, up from an average of 19 in the previous week. The government described it as a “precarious situation”.
Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar told a news conference: “We have lost some ground but it is possible to reclaim it.”
Mr Martin added: “I wish I was here to share better news but I’m not.”
He said he could not guarantee bars would reopen this year, adding: “We’ve got to achieve a reasonable equilibrium.”
Bars operating as restaurants have been allowed to open since the end of June, but those serving alcohol must remain shut for at least another three weeks until 31 August.
Ireland had previously published a travel Green List which had 15 countries. Travellers arriving in Ireland from the 15 countries not he list would not have to self-isolate for two weeks.
But the government has now removed Malta, Cyprus, Gibraltar, Monaco and San Marino from the Green List.
It also left in place a 50-person limit for indoor gatherings and a 200-person limit on outdoor events.
Mr Martin said that finance and spending ministers have been tasked with looking at additional funding for sectors likely to be affected for a longer period of time, including bars, the arts and entertainment sectors, and aviation.
Additional reporting by agencies