Phase four of coronavirus re-opening is paused for second time

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has confirmed phase four of the Government's plan for re-opening the co...
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

18.48 4 Aug 2020

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Phase four of coronavirus re-o...

Phase four of coronavirus re-opening is paused for second time

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

18.48 4 Aug 2020

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Taoiseach Micheál Martin has confirmed phase four of the Government's plan for re-opening the country has been paused for a second time.

Under the plan, pubs which do not serve food, hotel bars and casinos were due to re-open on Monday August 10th.

However this has been pushed back and will be further considered again in three weeks' time.


While the number of people allowed to gather indoors and outdoors will remain unchanged - at 50 and 200, respectively.

Face coverings will also be mandatory in all shops from August 10th.

And five destinations currently on the Government's 'green list' for travel are being removed.

These are Cyprus, Malta, Gibraltar, Monaco and San Marino.

Mr Martin explained this was due to "deteriorating virus numbers".

There are also no additions to the list of countries that mean people do not need to self-isolate on their return to Ireland.

Mr Martin said: "Pubs, bars, hotel bars, nightclubs and casinos will remain closed.

"Also the current restrictions on numbers attending indoor and outdoor gatherings will remain unchanged.

"We will review the evidence again in three weeks' time.

"I know that this will come as a blow to pub owners, and I want them to know that I've enormous sympathy for their plight.

"This virus is taking away their ability to earn a living. It is stopping them from providing a key service in the heart of many communities, especially in rural Ireland.

"But we are doing what we are doing to save lives and to give our society and economy the best chance we can to reopen safely and sustainably."

"Face coverings will be mandatory in shops and shopping centres across the country from the 10th of August.

"As we've seen with face coverings on public transport and the many other requests that have been made of citizens over the course of the pandemic, when people are given a clear direction they follow it".

Mr Martin also revealed that the five day moving average for confirmed cases is 45.4. For comparison, this is up from 6.4 on June 24th.

While the 14 day incidence per 100,000 is 7.54 -  up from 2.46 in the 14 days up to June 30th.

Mr Martin added that "these figures are still good in an international context.

"The Irish people have done an incredible job in controlling this virus.

"But the figures do show just how important it is for us to remain vigilant and to keep on top of it".

Meanwhile anyone who can work from home should continue to do so wherever possible.

The Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn added that health officials do not want to take any chances.

"We fully understand that the recommendations today will be very disappointing for many.

"But it is really important that we protect the progress that we have achieved to date, and that we do not now take any unnecessary risks that could result in a possible move back to earlier phases".

Phase four was originally due to kick in on July 20th, but was previously put back due to a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases.

On his way into a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said the Government was going to be cautious.

"We had a meeting with the Acting Chief Medical Officer now, and we'll have a Cabinet meeting next and a decision will be made at Cabinet and we'll announce it afterwards.

Mr Varadkar earlier said he did not want to preempt the decision, but added: "What I can say is that it's an unfortunate truth that this pandemic is still raging across the world, and even in Europe where it's under relative control.

"We have seen an increase in cases across Europe, including here in Ireland, so relative to other European countries we're still doing quite well and we want to keep it that way.

"And we want to make sure we do nothing that jeopardizes the opening of schools and colleges over the next couple of weeks.

"That's why, on the advice of NPHET, we'll be recommending to Cabinet that we take a very cautious approach for the next couple of weeks.

"I know that's going to come as a further blow to some of the sectors that have not been re-opened - but we just can't risk moving backwards to risk the schools re-opening".

Main image:  Taoiseach Micheal Martin arriving for a Cabinet meeting at Dublin Castle. Picture by Sam Boal/

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