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Top doctor says pubs in parts of Dublin should remain closed

By James Fenton

September 11, 2020 at 9:47am

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A top doctor has said that pubs in parts of Dublin where Covid-19 outbreaks occur should remain closed on September 21.

Earlier this week, it was announced that pubs that don't serve food will be allowed to open on September 21 but Professor Sam McConkey of the Royal College of Surgeons has said that establishments in areas where outbreaks occur should remain closed.

Covid-19 cases are being watched carefully in Dublin with 107 new cases reported in the capital on Thursday evening. Speaking on RTE's Prime Time last night, Professor McConkey said: "Dublin is a huge city, one and a half million people and in some areas there’s lots, in some areas there’s little, so I would actually differentiate by areas.

"Say in some areas where there’s lower rates of Covid-19 definitely yes and in other areas, where there’s big outbreaks just happening in the last week or two, probably no, people should be staying home in their houses."

He added that he had sympathy for publicans, saying: "For the publicans, I think I would be really, really sad if we see, kind of, the death of the Irish pub as a culture thing. It’s an international sport that we’re proud of and really enjoy. So it’s a matter of keeping those businesses alive."

Professor McConkey feels that drinking in outdoor areas might be the way forward as he continued: "It’s my view that drinking outside, socially distanced, sitting down two metres from each table with people that you live with or people from one other household is a relatively safe thing to do. So I think it could be done in a certain way with restrictions, or even the old little snugs we all had, where you were separated off from other people is inherently private so there are ways of doing organised enjoyment of social life in a pub that doesn’t destroy them.”

Yesterday, it was reported that the National Public Health Emergency Team has recommended that new restrictions on home visits come into place, with that possibility that these will be limited to a maximum of six people from just two different households.

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