Police have revealed that 26 pubs could face prosecution for breaching coronavirus health regulations or licensing laws in Ireland.
Pubs that serve food and restaurants reopened to the public last Monday after further restrictions were lifted by the Government.
Gardai carried out 6,830 checks on such venues over the weekend and discovered that 2,785 individual licensed premises were open for business. Of these, the vast majority – 2,759 – complied with rules.
However, 26 licensed premises did not adhere to the regulations, despite given opportunity to rectify the situation, and files are being drawn up for prosecution.
In many of the cases, gardai found customers drinking alcohol but no evidence of food being served or receipts to show food had been sold.
Gardai also said there was a lack of adherence to public health advice such as allowing large groups at one table, with little to no social distancing, no advisory signage, and no Covid-19 contact tracing being recorded.
Deputy Garda Commissioner John Twomey said: “The significant number of visits conducted by gardai found a large level of compliance among licensed premises. This is very welcome.
“However, we remain concerned that a minority are potentially operating in breach of the regulations. In doing so, they are putting the health of their customers and staff and everyone they come into contact with after at risk of getting Covid-19.
“We are sending a clear message to such premises that we will be opposing their liquor licence renewal applications in September unless they come into compliance.
“In addition, the public has shown great restraint and responsibility to date in adhering to the public health guidelines. The reality is that Covid-19 is still here. We all have an individual responsibility to ensure we continue to play our part in reducing the spread of Covid-19 to protect our family, friends and neighbours.”
Mr Twomey also reminded publicans that under liquor licensing laws, licensed premises require a declaration of suitability from a member of An Garda Siochana in order for its liquor licence to be renewed.
On Wednesday, the health authorities announced 11 confirmed cases of Covid-19 but no new deaths.