Government considering return of spectators to sporting events


Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

12.13 10 Sep 2020


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The Government is considering allowing the return of spectators to sporting events as part of its roadmap for living with COVID-19.

The Taoiseach confirmed that limited numbers could possibly be allowed to attend matches and this would be considered "within the framework" of the Government's 'Living with COVID' roadmap to be published next Tuesday.

Micheál Martin told Newstalk Breakfast that this would "obviously not include huge numbers" but crowds of 100 or 200 could be permitted to attend sporting events.

The Government announced on August 18th on the foot of public health advice that all games and competitions would be held behind closed doors.

The restrictions were initially set to be in place until September 13th, but it was announced yesterday that they will be extended for an extra two days until September 15th.

Mr Martin said: "On Tuesday next, the Government will publish an overarching national framework for the next six months in terms of how we live with COVID.

"In terms of quality of life more generally, crowds coming back to matches at lower levels is something we would be interested in seeing if we could do.

"We took a lot of heat from people understandably when NPHET advised that on the last occasion, but they did it for good reasons to try and keep the numbers down."

Mr Martin added: "Around the country where we did bring in severe restrictions in Laois, Offaly and Kildare, it did work and it did have an impact.

"We're learning along the way and we're learning all the time, and we'll pick up lessons in terms of any future measures and that will be the nature of this.

"We'll have to be resilient, this is a much longer-term pandemic than people might have originally thought and we have to learn to live with it."

Government considering return of spectators to sporting events

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

He said the plans would also be looking at the European framework in terms of travel and attempts to restore connectivity to Ireland.

The Taoiseach added that he would support the Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn in his advice that household gatherings, communion parties and christenings "need to be stopped for the next couple of weeks".

Mr Martin said personal behaviour "will be key" to any new framework, including social distancing, wearing masks and keeping social contacts low.

In the same interview, Mr Martin warned Irish people and businesses to prepare for a no-deal Brexit.

Main image: An empty Croke Park Stadium on the original scheduled date of the 2020 GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

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Coronavirus Covid-19 Micheál Martin Restrictions Spectators Sporting Events

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