Digital Desk Staff
An infectious disease expert says he is concerned the reopening of restaurants could lead to an increase in ‘superspreader events’ over Christmas.
From Tuesday the country will move back to Level 3 restrictions with the reopening of retail and places of worship.
Indoor dining in restaurants will resume from Friday, while travel between counties and the mixing of up to three households can happen after December 18th.
Professor Sam McConkey from the Royal College of Surgeons, says allowing restaurants to reopen is a risk: “I personally would have restricted things more because we know there are superspreader events in these crowded social events where people are talking and singing.
It really depends on the restaurant industry and how well they can keep the environment safe.
He said it will be a lot safer if restaurants have tables that are spread out by 2 metres, people who are already in their bubble at each table and waiters who are wearing masks.
Mr McConkey’s comments come after yesterday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed that Ireland will move to Level 3 with ‘some modifications’ of the Government’s Living with Covid plan from December 1st.
It means that until December 18th, people are being asked to stay within their county and continue not to mix with other households, unless they are part of your support bubble.
Following December 18th, restrictions will be eased to allow travel outside the county and for household visits with people from two other households. These eased restrictions will remain in place until January 6th.
On December 4th, restaurants, gastro-pubs and hotels may reopen for indoor dining, but ‘wet pubs’ which do not serve food will have to remain closed, excluding delivery and take-away services.
Mr Martin ensured owners of wet pubs will be provided with additional supports to help them into the new year.