The planned wider reopening of pubs on July 20 is at risk due to concerns about social distancing, or the lack thereof, outside of drinks venues.
As reported by The Irish Independent, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said that the government is not happy about the fact that crowds of people gathered outside some drinks venues over the weekend of July 4, and has warned that plans for the next phase of reopenings on July 20 currently remain "under review".
Concerns about social distancing at drinks venues arose after hundreds of people were pictured and filmed drinking without keeping the required distance from one another in the Dame Lane area of Dublin during the weekend of July 4.
"Can't Be Blind To What's Going On"
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While Martin acknowledged that most pubs that have already opened are complying with the rules, including limits on the amount of time customers can remain on their premises, he stated that the weekend of July 4 was "challenging", with social distancing "difficulties" where alcohol was being sold for takeaway purposes, and asserted, "We will be keeping it all under review in terms of phase four. Nothing can be guaranteed if this behaviour were to continue."
The taoiseach said, "We want pubs to reopen safely on the July 20, but we can't be blind to what's going on right now - those incidents where the guidance wasn't adhered to. We are keeping it under review. We're not happy with what transpired in certain locations over the weekend."
A new contact-tracing app is due to be launched today (Tuesday July 7), the purpose of which is to help trace contacts with coronavirus patients.
Health minister Stephen Donnelly stated in relation to the app and the instances of people not social distancing outside drinks venues during the weekend of July 4, "If one of those people tested positive [for coronavirus], there might be five, 10, 15 people they are in close contact with and they have no idea who they are. Everyone who has the app would get a notification that they have been deemed a close contact."
Foreign Travel Concerns
Donnelly also stated that public health officials are "very worried about the potential for a second surge really driven by a big upswing in foreign travel", and that airlines promoting commercial flights are doing so in "contrary" to public health advice.
According to Donnelly, at present, 17% of new coronavirus cases in Ireland are being caused by foreign travel.
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