A change to Covid rules for some Irish pubs could be in the works after bar Dail became the first to reintroduce a requirement for face masks.
The new measures were announced on Friday amid growing concerns over the spike in cases since the bank holiday weekend.
Other pubs across the country may now follow suit, as experts have advised people to continue wearing face masks in public places despite there being no legal mandate to do so.
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The Dail Bar said in a letter to TDs and senators, seen by the Irish Mirror, that the new rules would remain in place until Easter to “protect each other from the highly transmissible airborne variant”.
Other measures such as visitor numbers have also been reintroduced while Leinster House itself has requested that all people resume wearing masks indoors.
The news comes as consumer spending in pubs has increased significantly since all restrictions were lifted and venues returned to full capacity.
During the month of February, consumer spending increased by 49%, with an average spending of 1.6 million per day.
People returned to pubs for St Patrick’s Day in droves as they took advantage of the unique double bank holiday weekend and celebrated the festival for the first time in two years at public events.
However, the surge in Covid cases has led many health officials to call for a reintroduction of face masks as the health system comes under increasing pressure.
Nearly 20,000 new cases were confirmed on Friday as the new BA.2 variant leads to an increase in infections.
Meanwhile, more than 1,400 people are being treated for the disease in hospital, with more than 50 of them in intensive care.
Trinity College immunologist Professor Luke O’Neill backed other officials as he urged people to continue to wear masks in crowded environments .
He said: “It’s still a seasonal virus. It spreads in winter and early spring. It’s still there and masks provide protection. Although BA.2 is more transmissible, if you wear a mask and as you spread it, the dose will be lower.”
Although Professor O’Neill said normality was on the horizon, he warned that a new variant of Covid could still emerge.
He said: “There may be another variant that can cause more severe disease, but the good news is that we can see it coming, and the booster and the fourth vaccine will protect against severe disease with any variant. .
“We shouldn’t be so afraid of it, but we have to be aware of it and prepare for it.”
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