By Oisín McGovern
The Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) has called for all pubs to close immediately to contain the spread of coronavirus.
A statement from the VFI’s Galway city branch chairman Tom McDonagh read:
“Over the past couple of days, it has become obvious that keeping a safe distance between customers is extremely difficult to achieve, therefore we are recommending to our members to close all Galway city pubs today to protect our staff and customers as the nation battles coronavirus”
The statement from the VFI comes as videos of busy pubs in Temple Bar emerged on social media.
Minister Simon Harris described such gatherings as “an insult” to healthcare staff amid the ongoing threat of Covid-19.
People are being urged to self-isolate until March 29, with indoor gatherings of more than 100 people being banned.
Taoiseach Leo Varadakar tweeted this morning that he would seek enforcement powers to extend the ban on mass gatherings to pubs and night clubs.
A number of pubs in the Galway city have already decided to close their doors, including The Róisín Dubh, Taaffes Bar, The Kings Head Bar and Restaurant and The Black Gate.
The hashtags #CloseThePubs and #Shutthepubs have been trending on Twitter in Ireland this morning.
Restaurants and cafés across France, Italy and Spain have already been closed as Europe is becoming the coronavirus epicentre.