Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Questions (842)

Michael McNamara


842. Deputy Michael McNamara asked the Minister for Health if there will be a lead-in time of seven days’ notice of any new restrictions at the start of December 2020 to allow for proper planning and increased employment levels arranged; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38295/20]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As you will be aware, Ireland has moved to level 5 of the Government’s medium-term strategy for dealing with COVID-19, Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021: Plan for Living with COVID-19, which sets out Ireland's approach to managing and living with COVID-19 in a range of areas over the next 6 - 9 months.

This Plan sets out 5 levels of response, each with a number of measures designed to help us all lower COVID-19 transmission and setting out what is permitted at that moment in time. It aims to allow society and businesses to be able to operate as normally as possible, while continuing to suppress the virus. Each level outlines what is permitted for social or family gatherings, work and public transport, bars, hotels and restaurants, exercise activities and religious services.

The Plan reflects a careful consideration of the impact of the introduction of restrictions on employment and livelihoods, keeping as many businesses open as possible at different stages, while acknowledging that some businesses and services are critical.

Any measures introduced at any level of the Plan are aimed at limiting the spread and damage of COVID-19, and are necessary to protect our key priorities of supporting and maintaining health and social care services, keeping education and childcare services open and protecting the most vulnerable members of our communities. The Government is committed to ensuring a balanced and proportionate response to COVID-19 by finding ways to implement public health measures in response to the pandemic in a way that is fair, reasonable and proportionate.

It is not possible to say what circumstances will apply in the future due to the nature of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that has caused this global pandemic and the concerns that remain about the very serious threats to health that can be caused by this virus. The measures in place and the public health advice have been adapted to the changing circumstances and this will continue to be the case for the foreseeable future.