"Parties and pints" are on hold as the government announced  yesterday evening that it has stalled the lifting of Phase 4 of the Covid restrictions from Monday next to August the 10th.

The Health Minister has played down the impact of foreign travel on the spread of the coronavirus.

The reproductive rate of the virus has now increased to between 1.2 and 1.8 and phase four has been delayed until August 10th.

It means pubs, nightclubs and casinos can't re-open and restrictions on public gatherings remain in place.

Face-coverings in all shops will become mandatory and no more than 10 people can attend social gatherings in a house.

A 'green list' for international travel will be published on Monday, and and Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has played down the impact of tourists on the spread of the virus.

Professor Sam McConkey, the president of the Infectious Diseases Society of Ireland, says it was right to halt the reopening plan.

Gatherings of up 100 people indoors and 500 outdoors now won't be allowed until August 10th.

The current limits of 50 and 200 respectively will apply until then.

Elaina Fitzgerald-Kane, president of the Irish Hotels Federation, says that's a big blow to the hospitality sector.

Padraig Cribben, chief executive of the Vintners Federation of Ireland, says the delay to reopening all pubs is 'absolutely shocking'.

He says publicans will now need extra funding from the government to prevent them closing for good.

Retail Excellence Ireland has welcomed the government's decision to make face-coverings mandatory in shops.

Managing director Duncan Graham hopes it can boost customer confidence.



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