All pubs in Ireland have been asked to close from tonight in order to halt the spread of coronavirus.
Minister for Health Simon Harris called on all pubs, including hotel bars, to close until March 29 after what he called "disappointing scenes" over the weekend.
Footage and photographs of packed pubs were shared widely on social media, sparking condemnation from the Health Minister.
Following a meeting with the Licenced Vintners Association (LVA) and the Vintners' Federation of Ireland (VFI) at Government Buildings on Sunday, the decision was reached to request pubs to shut for two weeks in the interest of public welfare.
All pubs & bars in Ireland will close tonight until 29th March. Difficult day for staff & businesses but right thing to do. Huge sacrifice being made by many who work in this sector so please let this be a sign to all about how seriously we must take this #CoronaVirus #COVID19
— Simon Harris TD (@SimonHarrisTD) March 15, 2020
Minister Harris reminded the public that the closure of bars was not an excuse for house parties to replace trips to the pub, particularly with St. Patrick's Day coming up this week.
Minister Harris said: "The scenes like we saw last night in some locations, in particular in our capital city, were really disappointing - when doctors and nurses are working flat out - to see people not showing that degree of social responsibility."
Restaurants, cafes and cinemas are not currently being advised to close but the situation is under constant review by the Government.
The latest update The National Public Health Emergency Team reported an additional 40 confirmed cases of coronavirus, bringing the total in the Republic of Ireland to 169.