The New York Times reports that bars and restaurants in Ireland are required to close early this week leading up to Christmas – usually their busiest time of year – as Covid cases tick up around Europe.
The businesses are required to shut down at 8 p.m. (effective Dec. 20). The Licensed Vintners Assn., representing bar operators in the Dublin area, said that many of its members, already weakened by previous lockdowns, saw the new measures as “closure by camouflage.”
The Restaurants Assn. of Ireland called for the reintroduction of emergency payments to businesses that were forced to close, which the government is reportedly considering.
“I’m apprehensive in terms of what this might mean in terms of the sheer scale of infection,” said Prime Minister Micheál Martin. “Which is why we can’t take risks – the great unknown being, how severe is this in terms of requiring hospitalizations and ICUs, and just damaging people in terms of health?”
In Toronto, bars are also now heavily restricted, leading some to shut down entirely, according to BlogTO.