Nphet To Meet To Formulate Advice Regarding Easing Restrictions
The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) will meet today (Monday October 18) to formulate advice for the government regarding the planned further easing of COVID-19 restrictions on Friday Oct...
The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) will meet today (Monday October 18) to formulate advice for the government regarding the planned further easing of COVID-19 restrictions on Friday October 22.
As reported by rte.ie, it seems likely that COVID-19 certificates will continue to be used in hospitality venues throughout the winter and the required wearing of face masks in a wide range of settings is also expected to continue, but some confidence remains within the government that the number of people permitted to attend indoor and outdoor events could increase from Friday October 22, and the possibility of longer opening hours for bars and restaurants is also under consideration.
A final decision regarding further easing restrictions on October 22 will reportedly be made at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday October 17.
The above news came as Taoiseach Micheál Martin reportedly said that he believes that people will continue to be patient if all of the previously planned easings of restrictions on October 22 do not go ahead, that he will not pre-empt which restrictions will be removed and which will remain ahead of the government receiving expert public health advice.
Martin reportedly described data presented to the government last week regarding increasing COVID-19 case numbers as a cause for concern, but reportedly said that the public has been "exceptional" in terms of accepting restrictions since they were first imposed.
Martin reportedly told RTÉ News, "I think people have been patient.
"I think people understand this pandemic now. They know there has been - and will continue to be - twists and turns in relation to the disease.
"The key point is that we are in a much different position now to where we were because of vaccination - it transforms the environment totally."
Minister For Foreign Affairs Statements
Meanwhile, Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney reportedly said that he still believes that there will be a significant removal of COVID-19 restrictions on October 22, and that the government wants to proceed with the removal of restrictions but that increasing COVID-19 case numbers are a concern.
Coveney reportedly said, "I don't think the government will abandon plans to remove restrictions at the end of next week, but whether or not we are able to [relax restrictions] as much as we would have liked is the question,", and reportedly added, "We are watching very closely the number of people in hospital, the pressure on the health system and, of course, the continuing presence of COVID across society.
"We have seen a 12% increase in the number of people testing positive in the last week - of course that is a concern. It's not a big surprise, but it's something we need to watch.
"The government will do what we always do when we make a decision in relation to COVID. We will take public health advice, we will look at the science and we will make an informed decision.
"I think the likelihood is that there will be a significant removal of restrictions at the end of next week, but whether we will be able to go as far as we would have liked or as far as we had announced would be the case remains to be seen."
Coveney reportedly also said that the government will make a decision on Tuesday October 17, so that people will have clarity in advance of Friday October 22.
Give Us The Night Campaign Representative Statements
Additionally, DJ and spokesperson for the Give Us The Night campaign, which is a group that represents venues and nightclubs across Ireland, Sunil Sharpe has reportedly said that some venues are "hanging on by the skin of their teeth,", and is reportedly hoping that the government will proceed with the planned easing of restrictions on October 22.
Sharpe reportedly said, "The October bank holiday and Halloween period are big nights on the yearly calendar for venues, promoters and performers.
"This is a big chunk of vital revenue that the Government will eliminate if they decide to keep us shut."
Sharpe reportedly said that there will be many "logistical nightmares" to sort out if the government decides to postpone the reopening of nightclubs beyond October 22, and reportedly asked, "It will cause many problems, many of them financial of course, but what does it do for morale or mental well-being?"
Sharpe reportedly said, "This is not an easy game, and the mental anguish this puts business owners, staff, performers and the public through cannot be quantified through simple financial figures."
Sharpe reportedly said that he does not believe that the increasing COVID-19 case numbers would justify delaying the reopening of clubs, and, "Shutting us down on account of a small rising-case situation that was inevitable anyway as we get into winter, would be a complete cop-out."
Sharpe reportedly said that he believes that the industry should be given the chance to reopen safely, and reportedly asked, "Is it fair that our industry, who have had 19 months to learn about COVID-19 and prepare for a safe reopening, should stay shut?"
Sharpe reportedly said, "We are being judged without being given any opportunity to reopen, and if the government thinks that keeping venues shut is going to prevent the spread of the virus, think again."
Sharpe reportedly said that a prolonged shutdown of venues and events only increases unregulated gatherings, and, "As we move deeper into winter, the government should learn from last year, and understand that the virus doesn't just stop spreading if you shut down businesses.
"If the government actually does value the night-time economy, it will find a way to get us fully reopened on October 22nd."
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