Jack Quann
Jack Quann

06.30 17 Sep 2020


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Dublin needs to focus on COVID-19 transmission in people's homes, rather than in business.

That is according to business group DublinTown, which says restrictions on the city are not the answer.

It comes as the capital looks set to be placed on level three restrictions by the weekend.

The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) will meet on Thursday morning to make a recommendation to Government.

While health officials are worried about the spread of COVID-19 in a number of counties, Dublin is by far the worst at the moment.

This morning NPHET will meet to make a recommendation.

It is expected they will say Dublin should be moved fully up to level three restrictions.

People will be told to work from home unless absolutely necessary.

This would also mean people would not be allowed to leave the county except for essential purposes.

Capacity at weddings and funerals would be limited to 25 people, and religious services like mass should move online.

Richard Guiney, CEO of DublinTown, told Breakfast Briefing : "Anytime that there's any kind of talk we notice the impact almost immediately on footfall .

"Last week the footfall was at 63% of what it was in 2019, but even just the talk of the increase in the virus circulation impacted.

"So despite the good weather last week, the footfall fell.

"So we would expect that as we enter level three, which I think is going to happen based on all of the reports, we will see a further reduction in our footfall.

"The footfall primarily declines very sharply at about 6 o'clock in the evening, so it's the hospitality businesses that are feeling it most.

"We know that something needs to be done, the virus incidence is increasing, but I suppose we're saying let's be strategic about this.

"We need an economy, we need a vibrant Dublin city centre to attract FDI in the longer term, and we need to sustain employment for after there is a resolution to COVID.

"So we need to be quite strategic - the virus is circulating in the suburbs, it's circulating from people's homes and I think that's where we need to concentrate our efforts.

"And particularly speak to the young people who are perhaps not as aware of the implications for not just themselves [and] their families, but also the economy that they're going to be working in".

"We do need to look at the messaging around public transport: is the virus actually circulating in public transport?

"We certainly would see that anecdotally it isn't, but yet when people were advised not to use public transport the very next day our footfall was down by 26%.

"All of those messages, we need to look at those messages - nobody wants to bring people into an unsafe environment but I think we need to be very strategic in terms of where we focus our energies in reducing the transmission".

Once NPHET makes a recommendation it will be considered by a cross-departmental steering group later on Thursday.

The Cabinet Sub-Committee on COVID-19 has scheduled a meeting for Friday morning and this is being seen as a precursor to any NPHET recommendations being adopted by the weekend.

A full Cabinet meeting would have to sign off on the plans on Friday afternoon.

NPHET has yet to consider what advice to give, but with stark warnings that 500 to 1000 cases a day could be seen by the middle of October, it is expected further restrictions for Dublin will be installed.

It comes after 254 new COVID-19 cases were announced on Wednesday, alongside three further deaths.

Some 136 of the new cases were in Dublin with 20 in Donegal, 13 in Louth, 12 in Wicklow, nine in Waterford, seven in Carlow, seven in Cork, six in Galway, five in Kerry and five in Wexford.

The remaining 28 cases were spread across Clare, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Leitrim, Limerick, Longford, Mayo, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon and Westmeath.

Additional reporting: Sean Defoe

Main image: Sign posts from Kildare to Dublin City. Picture by: Eamonn Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

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