Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Micheál Martin announcing the new measures in a televised address, Source: on Facebook

Early closing time for hospitality and entertainment venues in Ireland

Early closing time for hospitality and entertainment venues in Ireland

Additional restrictions take effect to curb the spread of the Omicron variant which accounts for a third of new Covid cases

The Irish government has decided to reduce to 8pm the closing time of restaurants and bars, as well as cinemas and theatres, among other measures aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19.

35 percent of new cases due to Omicron

In a televised address on Friday, Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Micheál Martin said the Omicron variant represented a "significant threat" to the Republic of Ireland due to its rapid rate of transmission. He added that the Omicron strain is now responsible for approximately 35 percent of the new cases

Despite the high vaccination rate, a further 3,628 Covid-19 cases were recorded in the Republic on Friday. The additional restrictions come on top of the Omicron-targeted curbs imposed earlier this month, which are now being extended to 30 January 2022. 

Additional restrictions at a glance 

The following measures have been introduced with effect from 20 December (midnight on Sunday):

  • All restaurants and bars, except takeaways or delivery services, must close at 8pm
  • No indoor events (cinemas and theatres included) should take place after 8pm
  • For indoor events scheduled earlier in the day, attendance is capped at 50 percent of venue capacity or 1,000 people, whichever is lower
  • Attendance at all outdoor events should be limited to 50 percent of venue capacity or 5,000 people, whichever is lower
  • Wedding receptions can proceed after 8pm but with a capacity limit of 100 guests
  • All close contacts are advised to restrict their movement as follows: for 5 days with 3 antigen tests by those booster-jabbed at least one week ago; and for 10 days by those that have not yet received a booster.

International Travel:

  • All arrivals from overseas will continue to be required to have an antigen or PCR tests in line with their vaccination/recovery or unvaccinated status.
  • All passengers arriving in Ireland are now advised to conduct antigen testing on a daily basis for a period of 5 consecutive days commencing on day of arrival.
  • Restrictions specific to scheduled states where an “emergency brake” has been applied will be adjusted in line with the overall EU approach. 

Anger across the hospitality sector

The Restaurants Association of Ireland said its members are fuming about the early closing time of hospitality venues. The Vintners' Federation of Ireland said the restriction would have a “devastating” effect on the sector.

The government on its part promised to “review the existing economic and income schemes in light of the latest restrictions of businesses capacity to operate”.



Growing City


Smart City


Green City


Social City


New European Bauhaus




ECP 2021 Winner TheMayorEU