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Taoiseach: 'It is time to go back to remote working. We know it works'

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said there has been a slow creep back to the offices.

The government said they will be asking businesses to enable more remote working
The government said they will be asking businesses to enable more remote working
Image: TOM HONAN

TAOISEACH MICHEÁL MARTIN has said if more people work from home it will have an impact on the virus transmission rate. 

“It is time to go back to remote working. We know it works. It is possible, and it would have a very significant impact in reducing transmission rates in our view,” he said.

The Cabinet this evening agreed that Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan will be put under Level 4 Covid-19 restrictions

The government is now also advising people nationwide not to have visitors to their home or garden, and that social or family gatherings should not take place in other settings.

Speaking to reporters this evening in Government Buildings, the Taoiseach said in the early phases of the pandemic a considerable amount of people worked from home.

“Clearly over time, many, many more are coming back in,” said the Taoiseach, stating that the government will be upping their communication with employers to give this message unequivocally. 

The government is very conscious about the impact moving up levels will have on the economy, society and people’s mental health. 

He said the government is advocating for these measures for a reason – in order to get the virus down and enable the economy to stay open.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar reiterated the work from home message, stating: 

“If you can work from home, then you should.”

You should only enter your workplace if your work cannot be done from home.

“It is plainly evident to absolutely everyone there has been a slow drift or creep back to the offices and that has to stop,” he said.

“The transmission is widespread in all counties. So people whose county has not been moved to Level 4 shouldn’t think for a second that that is any reason to relax, it is likely more counties will move to Level 4,” he said.

“We have been tightening restrictions, bit by bit, pretty much to the end of July, but it hasn’t yet had the desired effects. So now we need to do more. Moving from Level 2 to 3 and 4 to 5 are blunt instruments,” he said, adding that the level of the virus will only fall “if we all listen to and obey public health guidance”.

The Taoiseach said tonight that he does not regret rejecting the Level 5 recommendation, stating that the country was not ready for Level 5.

He said Ireland’s approach has been one of the strictest in Europe. Ireland’s Level 3 is almost the equivalent of the UK’s most strict restrictions, he said.

There has been a call for greater co-ordination across Europe, particularly on travel and quarantining, he said.

He said the matter of curfews, which have been imposed in other countries, is a matter for each member State to consider, adding that it has not been discussed by government.

There have been calls to cancel the clocks going back this year to make the winter easier for people. 

While the Taoiseach acknowledged that he had discussed the issue with the leaders of the Social Democrats and the Labour Party, he believes such a move would have “significant implications” and would have to be well thought through.

Varadkar said it is not something that has been discussed, but added that there are enough differences between the two jurisdictions without counties south of the border also being in a different timezone than the North. 

In terms of Halloween, the Taoiseach said it will have to be a “different Halloween” to other years, stating that people can’t be knocking on each others doors.

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“But there are many other ways enjoying Halloween safely,” he said.

Similarly, he said we will have to celebrate a “different Christmas”, stating that people will have to adapt their behaviours.

“Until we get a vaccine normal life will not resume as we know it,” he said, adding “these are not normal times , but we can still have a quality of life,’

 

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