An intensive care physician has called on people to be responsible when going to reopened pubs and restaurants - saying people don’t have to go in if it doesn’t look safe.
Dr Catherine Motherway says people do need to take personal responsibility to help prevent any re-emergence of coronavirus.
Only pubs which serve food are allowed reopen for now, with gardaí continuing spot checks today to make sure guidelines around social distancing and time limits are being followed.
Meanwhile, images and videos shared on social media last night appeared to show large crowds drinking and socialising on some streets in Dublin city centre, despite many bars in the area remaining closed.
Gardai walking around the streets in Dublin City Centre to make sure pubs are not breaking the guidelines on social distancing, serving food or time limits etc
Yet this is allowed on Dame Lane..... pic.twitter.com/4inEgsY2Rm
— Barry Whyte (@BarryWhyte85) July 4, 2020
Dr Motherway - former President of the Intensive Care Society - told Newstalk Breakfast that any crowds gathering without social distancing would be worrying - and that people need to be responsible as the country reopens.
She observed: “One of the most important things we have to do is educate and empower our populations on how to live with this virus. We do need to have personal responsibility.
“You can look into an establishment if you want to go for a drink - which we’d all like to do after the long period of time - and you can actually be responsible: if it doesn’t look safe, don’t enter.
“If you’re socialising with your friends… try to keep meeting the same group of people so you minimise your contact with lots of different people. That’s how we’re going to have to live for the next period of time.”
Dr Motherway said some resurgences of COVID-19 in places such as California have been traced back to people socialising in bars and restaurants.
She said publicans here have “worked hard to try to get back to work”, and it’s “up to the people coming in the door to be responsible” - noting that “the trouble with alcohol is that you do get a bit disinhibited”.
She also said it will take two or three weeks to see the impact of any easing of restrictions - stressing that while viral transmission has remained low during the previous phases of reopening, there still is viral transmission in the country.
According to Dr Motherway, Ireland has lots to be proud of in terms of our coronavirus response, and it's now vital that that's kept up.
She said: “The country itself needs to be proud of itself, and now needs to continue to do what it has been doing and to try to continue to go around its business appropriately.
“Wear the masks: get used to it. We all feel like a little twat wearing a mask, but get used to it. Get a reusable one, clean it, and reuse it… wear it when you’re going into shops or public transport.
“That mask will protect someone else from you, and if that other person is wearing a mask it will protect you from them.”