Tuesday, 15 December 2020

Questions (543, 544, 550)

Thomas Gould

Question:

543. Deputy Thomas Gould asked the Minister for Health the reason for the continued closure of bowling alleys. [43116/20]

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Pat Buckley

Question:

544. Deputy Pat Buckley asked the Minister for Health the reason for the continued closure of bowling alleys under current restrictions, given the ability to maintain social distancing within such businesses and the reopening of businesses of a similar risk level. [43118/20]

View answer

Paul McAuliffe

Question:

550. Deputy Paul McAuliffe asked the Minister for Health if a facility (details supplied) can open under level 3 restrictions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43197/20]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 543, 544 and 550 together.

The Government appreciates that there are many aspects of normal life that have been altered by the emergence of COVID-19, and the response that has been required. It also recognises that these changes are difficult for many people. However, it is the case at present that many of the things which we have previously taken for granted are no longer accessible in the same way due to the risks that they pose and the ease with which this virus spreads in particular conditions.

The Government’s medium-term Plan Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021: Plan for Living with COVID-19, sets out Ireland's approach to managing and living with COVID-19, in a range of areas, over a period of 6–9 months.

The Plan aims to allow society and businesses to operate as normally as possible, while protecting 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 Plan consists of 5 levels. Each level sets out what is permitted for social or family gatherings, work and public transport, bars, hotels and restaurants, exercise activities and religious services, at that moment in time. Each level contains a “basket” of measures which are intended, collectively, to contribute to lowering the risk of transmission of Covid-19 in alignment with the risk level at that time. The set of measures, individually, do not comprise a list of activities or places which are equally safe. Instead, they are “baskets” of measures which are informed by public health understanding of the disease.

The number of people allowed to gather in different scenarios in the Government Plan are based on a review of international practice and the judgment of public health experts. It seeks to balance the risks of different types of gatherings against the desire to allow normal activities to proceed in so far as possible. The measures in place for each level reflect the prevailing disease situation and recognise that we can and must prioritise some activities over others.

Information in relation to the public health measures in place at all levels of the Plan are available at:- www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/resilience-recovery-2020-2021-plan-for-living-with-covid-19/.

With regard to your specific query please refer to the Health Act 1947 (Section 31A - Temporary Restrictions) (COVID-19) (NO. 9) Regulations 2020 Regulation (S.I. 560 of 2020), Schedule 2 for a list of businesses or services that are not permitted under the current restrictions.