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Level 3 is December target but government could 'moderate' restrictions for certain sectors, says Taoiseach

Micheal Martin said he would give advanced notice to businesses ahead of December.

The Taoiseach has indicated he wants the country to move to Level 3 in December.
The Taoiseach has indicated he wants the country to move to Level 3 in December.
Image: Oireachtas.ie

TAOISEACH MICHEÁL MARTIN has said the country will return to Level 3 in December, but government may also look at certain sectors to see if it could “moderate” Level 3.

Speaking in the Dáil today, the Taoiseach said:

“I did say on the record of the House that I wanted to get back to Level 3 – that was a target for 1 December. The data on that will inform whether we might look at certain sectors as well and might moderate that.”

On the issue of exiting Level 5, Martin said:

“We are doing a lot of analysis of the data, sector by sector, to facilitate and inform the approach to exiting Level 5.

“We want to give indications so there will be some degree of preparation on the part of those who want and need to be prepared if we are in a good position at the end of this month.”

During the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party meeting today, there were calls from some members to re-open the economy for Christmas, arguing that it should be Level 2 after Level 5 restrictions end and that sports should be allowed to resume.

The Taoiseach said he has been very clear that his focus up to now has been on keeping the pressure on the virus and keeping everybody focused on adhering to the Level 5 restrictions “so there will be maximum flexibility and manoeuvrability at the end of this month and the beginning of December”.

He said the approach is working, adding that the “various measures we have taken since moving to Level 3 have resulted in a downward trajectory. Level 5 is accelerating that. We should acknowledge that”.

Labour’s Alan Kelly said the Taoiseach should be able to give an indicative date as to when he will be able to announce what is planned for the period from 1 December onwards.

While he said he did not expect the Taoiseach to tell the Dáil what he is going to do, he said businesses need to be allowed to prepare.

Under Level 3, shops would be allowed to reopen but only outdoor food and drink services would be permitted to small numbers.

Publicans expressed concerns the country will face a “two-tier Christmas” if the hospitality sector remains closed after Level 5 restrictions are lifted.

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