Michael Staines
Michael Staines

08.37 28 Nov 2020


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Doctors are urging people to take personal responsibility to keep the coronavirus in check over Christmas.

It comes after the Taoiseach confirmed that the reopening of the country would begin next week.

Shops, places of worship, gyms, golf courses, hairdressers, barbers, museums and cinemas will be allowed open from next Tuesday, December 1st.

Restaurants and gastropubs will reopen for indoor dining from Friday December 4th; however, pubs that don't serve food will remain closed for the rest of the year.

The Taoiseach Micheál Martin addressing the nation outside Government Buildings, 27-11-2020. Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews

Restrictions on travel within your own county will be lifted from Tuesday; however, intercounty travel will remain restricted until December 18th.

Meanwhile new recommendations for safely enjoying shopping, dining out and visiting other people’s homes over Christmas have been published.

Common sense

This morning, the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) said people use common sense when it comes to socialising and visiting over the festive season.

ICGP's Lead COVID-19 Advisor, Dr Nuala O'Connor said people should avoid crowded, poorly ventilated, indoor spaces:

“This virus loves when people get together in that manner,” she said. “It gives the virus an opportunity to actually spread.

“That is why maintaining your social distance, wearing your mask, washing your hands and being careful to observe, whatever venue you are going to into, exactly what the owners or hosts in that area have advised, is essential.”

Mental health

She said people supports are available for anyone who is struggling through what will be a Christmas like no other.

“The other group we are very concerned about is people who may suffer with their mental health,” she said.

“We all know that Christmas can be a very sad time for a lot of people so it is very important that people understand the we, as GPs, are there for them.

“General Practice is going to remain open throughout the festive season and we are there to help and to listen to people.”

"Every contact counts"

Announcing the plan for easing restrictions last night, the Taoiseach Micheál Martin reminded people that “every contact counts,” as we try to keep the virus in check over Christmas.

“Our older people, who we deeply cherish and who contribute so much to our society and our nation, are particularly vulnerable to this disease,” he said. “They are relying on the rest of us to be responsible.

“Our business, arts and cultural communities are relying on everyone being responsible. That’s the only way that we can reach a point of helping them to fully reopen.

“And our children are relying on us too. They have had a very challenging year and we owe it to them to return the full freedoms of childhood as soon as possible.”

Taoiseach Micheál Martin wearing a face mask The Taoiseach Micheál Martin entering Government Buildings, 13-11-2020. Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews

He said the Government was now advising people to wear masks outdoors on busy shopping streets.

People are being encouraged to shop at off-peak times and keep a two-metre distance from other shoppers wherever possible.

When visiting friends or family, people should follow basic public health hygiene and spend time outdoors wherever possible.

When visiting the elderly or vulnerable, people are being encouraged to wear a mask and keep visits short.

Last night, 206 new cases of COVID-19 were announced alongside seven further deaths.

The national 14-day rate of the virus has now dropped to 98 per 100,000 people.


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