An Garda Síochána’s Operation Navigation will continue this weekend with a focus on compliance with the public health regulations among the 2,785 individual licensed premises that were found to be open last weekend.
In addition, as part of ongoing patrolling relating to COVID-19, An Garda Síochána will have a high visibility presence in key locations in cities and towns to ensure the public are adhering to the public health guidelines. An Garda Síochána will continue to work with local authorities and relevant statutory agencies in this area as it has done since the COVID-19 outbreak.
Under Operation Navigation an operational order was issued to all local Garda managers that licensed premises in their area operating at the moment were to be checked for adherence to The Health Act 1947 (Section 31A-Temporary Restrictions) (COVID-19) (No.3) Regulations 2020.
In conducting these visits, An Garda Síochána continued its graduated policing response based on its tradition of policing by consent. This has seen Gardaí engage, educate, encourage and, as a last resort, enforce. That approach will continue this weekend.
Where potential breaches of the Public Health Regulations are identified, and where a person does not come into compliance with the regulations, a file is submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions for a direction as to how to proceed.
To date, 26 premises have been found by Gardaí to have potentially breached the health regulations or licensing laws even after providing the premises with the opportunity to rectify the situation. Files are being prepared for the DPP in these cases.
Deputy Commissioner, Policing and Security, John Twomey said, "Last weekend, Operation Navigation found that the vast majority of licensed premises were adhering to the public health regulations. Unfortunately, 26 didn’t appear to be. By doing so, they are putting themselves, their employees, their customers and the wider community at risk of getting COVID-19. We would hope that lessons have been learnt and we see an even high rate of compliance after this weekend.
"In addition, customers of licensed premises engaged in such practices also have to take personal responsibility. By using a premises that is not in compliance with the public health regulations and has not taken on-board the public health advice, those customers are also creating a risk to themselves, their family, their friends and the local community.”
The Health Act 1947 (Section 31A-Temporary Restrictions) (COVID-19) (No.3) Regulations 2020 are currently in effect until the 20th July 2020, which set out certain penal provisions. Social distancing and other similar public health guidelines are not penal provisions.
In addition, under liquor licensing laws, a licensed premises requires a declaration of suitability from a member of An Garda Síochána in order for its liquor license to be renewed.