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Public urged to socialise responsibly and keep contacts to a minimum this weekend

It is the first weekend since Ireland returned to Level 3 restrictions.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn
Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

HEALTH OFFICIALS ARE urging the public to stay safe and keep their contacts to a minimum on the first weekend since the end of Level 5 restrictions.

Ireland returned to Level 3 with variations on Tuesday, with gastropubs and restaurants following non-essential retail, hairdressers and museums in re-opening yesterday.

Gatherings of up to 15 people can now take place outdoors and groups of up to six can meet indoors in restaurants, although household visits and inter-county travel are still not permitted.

However, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn has urged anyone socialising this weekend to make every effort to keep safe.

“Plan ahead, meet outside where possible and keep your contacts to a minimum. Avoid crowded or poorly ventilated spaces and leave if your environment doesn’t feel safe,” he said last night.

Also speaking yesterday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin urged the public to stay vigilant after suggesting that news this week that the UK had approved a Covid-19 vaccine could cause people to think that the virus was no longer a threat.

“Personal responsibility and collective responsibility is going to be central to [re-opening pubs and restaurants],” he said.

“There are risks to all of this, and so personal behaviour is very important. I would join with the CMO and others in stressing to people the need to adhere to protocols and act as if you have the virus and that you don’t wish to spread it.

“Be conscious that every contact counts as you’re going out to dine and meet others.”

Their comments came as the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) issued a new report warning of the increased risk of Covid-19 transmission during the festive period.

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The European agency warns that an increased number of social gatherings and so-called “pandemic fatigue” will mean the risk of Covid-19 transmission will be high.

The report suggests people should create small “social bubbles” before and during the festive season.

“Gatherings only with members of the same household pose the lowest risk of transmission,” it says.

“If not possible, self-quarantine before gatherings with members of the same social bubble but a different household is advised.”

The agency also says that people should only engage in travel and social activities that are “genuinely important”.

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