Garda Covid-19 enforcement powers to be extended to mid-2021

Bill allows gardaí to inspect premises and close them temporarily for failing to comply

Garda powers to police Covid-19 measures in pubs and restaurants are to be extended until the middle of next year. File photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times.

Garda powers to police Covid-19 measures in pubs and restaurants are to be extended until the middle of next year. File photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times.

 

Garda powers to police Covid-19 measures in pubs and restaurants are to be extended until the middle of next year.

The Cabinet is due to meet on Tuesday to approve extending the powers until June 9th.

The Criminal Justice (Enforcement Powers) (Covid-19) Bill allows gardaí to inspect premises and close them down temporarily where there is a refusal to comply.

The legislation has a sunset clause ending on November 9th and can only be extended subject to Dáil approval. Ministers are expected to approve the proposal for a lengthy extension of the powers and sources said this was being done to bring the law into line with the length of the Government’s Living with Covid-19 framework, which runs until the summer.

Breaches

Ministers will also be told that between early July and mid October there were 274 breaches of Covid-19 regulations by premises such as pubs.

Before the country moved to Level 5 restricitons gardaí were inspecting venues and, where breaches of Covid-19 regulations were found, they could order that a business be closed immediately for the remainder of that day.

Other closure orders can be applied for by gardaí for venues that do not desist from breaching the rules, and these can range from for three days to 30 days.

In the longer term, gardaí could also object to the renewal of a liquor licence for such premises.

Businesses such as cafes also face periods of closure under the regulations for breaching coronavirus regulations, such as by failing to keep the contact details of their customers for a period of 28 days.

The Cabinet is also due to hear an update in relation to the Shared Island Unit, which has been established in the Department of the Taoiseach by Micheál Martin.

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