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Pubs, masks and parties: At a glance, the main Covid-19 actions from a big government briefing

A number of significant announcements were made last night.

Post-Cabinet press briefing001 Taoiseach Micheál Martin. Source: Julien Behal

LAST NIGHT SAW a series of major announcements relating to the government’s response to Covid-19 in this country.

It was the first major roadmap press conference to be held by the new government and comes on the back of an increase in cases in the past week. 

It featured Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly, acting chief medical officer Dr. Ronan Glynn and saw a number of important announcements.

Here’s a quick recap of what was said: 

Pubs to remain closed until 10 August

The most significant announcement was that Phase 4 of the reopening has been delayed.

It’s now been put back to its original date of 10 August after being accelerated to 20 July by the previous government. 

It means that pubs that don’t serve food cannot now reopen next week, as had been expected before yesterday’s change. 

There’s already been significant reaction to this change, with publicans’ groups describing it as ‘shocking‘. 

Face coverings to be made mandatory in shops

After face coverings became mandatory on public transport on Monday, they are now to be made mandatory in shops and shopping centres. 

Retail staff will also be required to wear a face covering, unless there is either a partition or two metres of distance between them and members of the public.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said last night that details of penalties “will be formulated” in relation to this. It’s believed this may take a number of weeks.  

Social visits to homes limited to a max of 10 people

Due to what the Taoiseach described as “unrestricted house parties”, restrictions are to be put on the number of people that can visit another person’s home. 

It means that social visits to people’s homes will be limited to a maximum of 10 visitors from no more than four other households. 

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

‘Green list’ of travel on the way next week

The much-awaited ‘green list’ for which people will be able to travel to without quarantining on return to Ireland will be published on Monday.  

Despite this, the government is still advising against unnecessary foreign travel.

The Taoiseach has promised increased staff at ports and airports to inform incoming travellers of their obligations to fill out a passenger locator forms and to restrict movements for 14 days. 

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Post-Cabinet press briefing017 Health Minister Stephen Donnelly. Source: Julien Behal

Speaking about people arriving from the United States, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said that just four cases of Covid-19 have been identified in people arriving from the US to Ireland over the past six weeks.  

Communicating to young people ‘in particular’

The Taoiseach has premised “a renewed communications campaign” to inform the country about these and other developments. 

He said the campaign would be “for all age groups” but made specific reference to the need to reacher younger people. 

“In particular, we need to refocus the message for our young people about the positive role they can play in preventing the spread of the virus,” he said.

Schools ‘on target’ to reopen in September

The Taoiseach said last night that a “key priority” is to reopen schools in September and that if the government didn’t hit the pause button on the reopening schedule this may not happen. 

“If we were to allow the current trajectory to continue unabated, without any interventions, that could potentially put schools in jeopardy, as it is we are on target to get the schools open,” he said.

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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