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Covid-19 Pandemic

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 13 May 2021

Thursday, 13 May 2021

Ceisteanna (394)

James O'Connor

Ceist:

394. Deputy James O'Connor asked the Minister for Health the status of betting shops (details supplied) under the reopening plans; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25200/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

There has been considerable progress in reducing infection levels since the peak of the wave of infection in late 2020/early 2021 because of the widespread commitment and adherence by the public to the public health measures in place. While there is still a high level of infection nationally, the situation is considered reasonably stable and significant progress is being made in relation to the roll-out of our vaccination programme.

In recognition of the improving situation, the Government announced a roadmap on the 29 April for the gradual lifting of some restrictions over the next two months, with a particular focus on allowing more outdoor activities. A range of measures will be eased in May, with a further easing of measures in June subject to the epidemiological situation at the time.

I can confirm to the Deputy that betting shops will reopen as part of the phased reopening of non-essential retail in May.

In its letter of 28 April, the NPHET highlighted that as we return to economic and societal activities, it “will be important that there continues to be the high level of adherence to public health measures and advice that has been an enduring feature of our collective response throughout the pandemic. It will also be important that all sectors, businesses and organisations ensure that sectorial guidance and communications are reviewed and refreshed where necessary to support the safe reopening of sectors and activities, including in relation to mask wearing, controls on numbers and ensuring social distancing, ventilation and provision of sanitising stations”.

Businesses reopening in the comings days and weeks should ensure they are following relevant guidance including the Work Safely Protocol (https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/bb7fd-work-safely-protocol/) and National Standards Authority of Ireland 'COVID-19 Retail Protection and Improvement Guide' (https://www.nsai.ie/images/uploads/general/NSAI-COVID19-Retail-Guidelines-13012021.pdf). The Deputy will be aware that the Irish Bookmakers Association has also produced guidance for the sector.

It is important to note that while there is now scope to ease a range of public health measures, this approach must continue to be cautious, gradual and on a phased basis, with sufficient time between any easing of measures to assess the impact. This will be critical to ensuring the protection of the gains of recent months, the protection of those most vulnerable, and the protection of health and social care, education, and childcare services.

Significant progress has been made on suppressing the virus over recent months due to the huge effort of people across the country. By working together, we have saved lives and limited the impact of the disease on society in Ireland. We all must continue to do everything possible to continue to avoid the virus spreading and to support the safe reopening of activities over the coming months.

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