DUBLIN (AP) — Ireland is already focused on Christmas. It’s a major national priority.
Unless the country can get the COVID-19 pandemic under control, there won’t be much Christmas cheer this year in Galway, Cork or Dublin.
With infections on the rise, the government has imposed a tough new lockdown that began at midnight Wednesday, shutting down non-essential shops, limiting restaurants to takeout service and ordering people to stay within five kilometers (three miles) of their homes for the next six weeks.
The restrictions are among the toughest in Europe, and Prime Minister Micheal Martin said he imposed them in part to ensure Ireland can celebrate Christmas “in a meaningful way.”
That message has won the support of many business owners, even in the hard-hit hospitality industry which was still recovering from an earlier lockdown that slashed revenue and triggered layoffs in the spring.
Paul Cadden, owner of the Saba Restaurant Group, will have to lay off 20 people, but will do takeaway, hampers, anything necessary, to get by until lockdown ends. He hopes the new restrictions will bring the virus under control in time for the all-important holiday season.
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