All clubs and pubs in Dublin's Temple Bar will shut down until further notice in a bid to fight the outbreak of Covid-19 after large crowds of people gathered in the popular tourist area over the weekend, drawing widespread criticism.
The pubs will now close voluntarily and with immediate effect.
The Temple Bar Company released a statement announcing the closures and said that it was impossible for the pubs to comply with public health advice and limit attendance to less than 100 people.
Additionally, the Temple Bar Company said that it was equally impossible to ensure that customers maintained adequate social distancing.
Temple Bar is an extremely popular area in Dublin's City Center that draws thousands of tourists and local residents on any given night. On St. Patrick's Day, it is usually teeming with people.
While Minister for Health Simon Harris praised the move as "sensible," he said that the Public Health Emergency Team will make a decision tomorrow about shutting down more pubs and clubs throughout the country.
Sensible decision from Temple Bar. Public Health Emergency Team will meet tomorrow & will consider further pubs etc, as requested by @LeoVaradkar. But remember we can make some decisions - It’s up to YOU though to do your bit, not anyone else. Basic cop on goes a long way pic.twitter.com/stFsPaEJid— Simon Harris TD (@SimonHarrisTD) March 15, 2020
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced a ban on any indoor public gatherings of more than 100 people last Thursday, but videos of packed pubs in Temple Bar surfaced on social media, prompting public outrage.
Health Minister Simon Harris responded to the video calling it an "insult:"
Not far from here, nurses & doctors are working to prepare for the impact of a global pandemic. Everyone is working 24/7. This is an insult to their efforts. There is very clear public health advice. Follow it. All options will be kept under constant review #CoronaVirusUpdates https://t.co/XQvJ7tC13D— Simon Harris TD (@SimonHarrisTD) March 14, 2020
A social media campaign is advocating for all bars in Ireland to close using #closethebars. The campaign became more popular on Saturday night when the aforementioned videos surfaced online.
The videos appeared to show far more than 100 people packed inside a bar in close contact with one another.
The bars will now shut down immediately and will remain closed indefinitely.