Gardai in Dundalk carried out 55 inspections in licensed premises between Friday and Sunday in a bid to ensure that landlords and business owners are complying to public health guidelines in relation to Covid-19.
Restaurants, cafes and pubs that served ‘substantial’ meals were allowed to reopen for the first time since lockdown in March as of Monday June 29 in the first number of days, concerns were raised throughout the country over some pubs flouting restrictions when serving alcohol.
The current rules state that pubs may only serve alcohol to patrons who also purchase a meal worth a minimum of €9. Customers are permitted to be on the premises for no longer than 105 minutes.
Gardai launched Operation Navigation across the country on Friday and in Dundalk over the weekend, officers carried out 55 separate inspections of licensed premises. Superintendent Gerry Curley of Dundalk Gardai Station also confirmed that prior to the reopening of pubs serving food, Gardai in the district were “checking in” on licensed premises to ensure they were closed, as bound to be, throughout lockdown.
Speaking during the Dundalk Joint Policing Committee July meeting on Tuesday, Chief Superintendent for Louth Christy Mangan moved to state that An Garda Siochana were “not the fun police” and were concentrating on enforcing the law.
“Throughout lockdown, we’ve carried out inspections on a regular basis to make sure they [pubs] weren’t breaching the law,” he said. “We operate within the law. We don’t operate on advices. They are for other people to give out. We are there to enforce the law, what we can enforce. We are not the fun police.”
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Chief Supt Mangan continued: “The law is what we deal with on a daily basis. We encourage people not to engage in certain activities. We can advise people as to what they should be doing but if two partners are walking within three-four inches of each other on a public path, there’s not a lot we can do about it.”
He confirmed that there would be prosecutions brought against some licensed premises but in the main, people adhered to and were compliant with the guidelines
“People are being responsible in the main. We have had to give out advice to some premises as regards people and there will be some prosecutions against some licensed premises. In the main, people are adhering to the advice.
“A Garda arriving in to a restaurant in a uniform while you’re eating your dinner is not good for the digestive system. We’re very conscious of that and conscious that people have been in lockdown. Most people are very, very good.”