Decision to enter Phase 4 of reopening Ireland deferred to August 10

Taoiseach Micheál Martin is to pursue the issue of redundancy payments to the former Rehab workers

AN TAOISEACH Micheál Martin announced current public health measures would remain in place until August 10, with Cabinet deferring the decision for Ireland to move into Phase 4 of reopening Ireland until that date.

The Fianna Fáil leader acknowledged the nations “extraordinary effort” in response to the spread of COVID-19 in the previous months noting “every aspect of our lives have come under extraordinary pressure”.

Addressing the nation yesterday evening, July 15, An Taoiseach said he and his Government received “very sobering advice” from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), that the Reproduction number (R number) “has now risen above ‘1’ in this country”.

The five-phase plan originally put in place by the previous Government in May 2020 was accelerated from five phases to four, and An Taoiseach said, “They made it clear that each phase and the indicative date for the start of each phase would be kept under constant review.”

Following the advice from NPHET the Government decided Ireland would not be progressing to Phase 4 of the Revised Roadmap for Reopening Society & Business.

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Mr Martin said, “The priority now must be to get that R number back below ‘1’.  By doing so we will give ourselves the best chance possible to fully reopen our schools in late August.
It is also a critical step in the process of making sure that essential non-COVID healthcare continues as quickly as possible.”

An Taoiseach announced that current restrictions in place for pubs, bars, and nightclubs would remain in place seeing them closed until August 10.

“Pubs and bars, which are currently operating while serving food, can remain open once they are fully compliant with the public health guidance,” he said.

It was also agreed by Government that face coverings should be worn by all customers in shops and shopping centres across the country. With retail staff also being required to wear a face-covering “unless there is a partition between them and members of the public or where there is a distance of 2 metres between them and members of the public”.

Changes to social gatherings, with current restrictions remaining in place on mass gatherings.

An Taoiseach said there was evidence that “unrestricted house parties have led to a rise in recent outbreaks of the virus” and Government now recommends that social visits to people’s homes be limited to a maximum of 10 visitors from no more than four different households.

The current restrictions of 50 people at indoor gatherings and 200 people at outdoor gatherings is being extended until August 10.