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Tánaiste says it is 'unfair' for non-essential shops to stay open by selling PPE

The Tánaiste said it was “totally unfair” for retailers staying open in this way and that gardaí would be enforcing legislation.

Image: TOM HONAN

TÁNAISTE LEO VARADKAR has said he is confident that businesses will be able to reopen after six weeks of Level 5 restrictions.

Speaking to RTÉ’s This Week, the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment said that it was still too early to say what effect the measures were having, however. 

Varadkar said the Level 3 measures that were put in place in October were starting to take effect but cautioned that is “early days yet” and that the effect of Level 5 would not be known until November. 

“I am confident we will get back to Level 3 and a bit in December…but at the same time we need to not be complacent,” he said.

Varadkar said when you tell people that things are improving that “can send out the wrong message” and said there is a danger that it can be taken the wrong way.

Asked about non-essential shops selling PPE during Level 5, Varadkar said they were asking retailers to abide by the regulations and “abide by the spirit of the regulations”.

Varadkar said shops should only sell items that are essential, adding that workwear is essential, but general clothing is not.

He said it was one thing to sell essential products, but another one entirely to use essential products as a means of opening to sell non-essential products, which he said was “not lawful” and “unfair”.

The Tánaiste said it was “totally unfair” for retailers staying open in this way and that gardaí would be enforcing legislation to ensure this would not happen.

Earlier today, HSE CEO Paul Reid that the positivity rate in testing continues to decline and that most close contacts identified by Public Health teams are in households. “Still very early but good,” Reid said, on Twitter. “We’re all part of the solution. Let’s keep going.”

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Approximately 115,000 tests have been carried out over the last 7 days. The positivity rate is now 6.2%, according to the Department of Health. 

The positivity rate was at 6.9% on Thursday and at 7.3% on Monday. 

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan this afternoon reiterated public health advice that if a person has symptoms they should self-isolate for 10 days and that if a person lives with a positive case or is a close contact then they should restrict their movements for 14 days. 

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