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Covid-19 Pandemic

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 22 July 2020

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Ceisteanna (208)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

208. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health if he will address a matter regarding Covid-19 clusters (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17512/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As the Deputy is aware, Phase 4 of the Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business, due to commence on 20 July has been paused and is now planned to start on 10 August 2020, subject to Government approval.

As part of Phase 4 it is planned that all remaining pubs, bars, and hotel bars may reopen. Given the current evidence of the spread of infection associated with social gatherings, the reopening of pubs and bars represents an increased risk due to the consumption of alcohol and the challenge that represents when trying to encourage patrons to maintain social distancing and practice hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.

The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) continues to examine all emerging evidence as it arises and on an ongoing basis. NPHET has provided advice to me as Minister relating to concerns about pubs re-opening. The Government decision to delay the start of Phase 4 Reopening was not based on evidence of cases or clusters in pubs or restaurants in this country, as these pubs have not been open for some time. However, the NPHET is aware of significant evidence of such cases and clusters internationally in countries such as South Korea, the United Kingdom, Australia, Spain, the United States and Canada. These outbreaks have all occurred as restrictions were eased. That evidence combined with the data showing the increase in incidence of the transmission of the virus in Ireland and the ages of recently confirmed cases over the past few weeks led to the Government decision, based on NPHET advice, to defer the opening of pubs until at least 10 August.

The Deputy may wish to note that pubs and bars operating as restaurants which opened during Phase 3 can remain open once they are fully compliant with the public health guidance.

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