The next major step in the reopening of Ireland is coming up on Monday.
July 26 will see the return of indoor dining in pubs and restaurants for those who are vaccinated or have recovered from the coronavirus.
The plans have been a long time coming and were finalised after a long weekend of crunch talks between the Government and representatives from the hospitality industry.
Thousands of people are looking forward to the reopening, with many looking ahead even further as to when Ireland will see more restrictions lifted.
But those people were hit with a blow from both the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste on Friday.
Taoiseach looking for “balance” in reopening
When asked about the reopening of indoor dining only for those who are fully vaccinated or immune, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said we all have obligations as individuals as well to comply to the new rules.
Speaking in Cork on Friday, he said: We dont really want to be doing this, were in an unusual context, were in a global pandemic.
These are decisions one ordinarily would contemplate taking.
Its about balancing the reopening of society, peoples quality of life with public health, those are the essential calls we have to make.
The only motivation is to protect people.
Taoiseach Micheal Martin. (Image: Gareth Chaney / Collins Photos Dublin)
When put to him that some businesses have chosen not reopen for indoor dining as their staff will be unvaccinated, the Taoiseach said: The Chief Medical Officer is of the view that the staff are better protected by serving only vaccinated people within an indoor setting but that said, the vaccination programme is running very the last two weeks well have the fastest running vaccination programme in the world.
Mr Martin said that NPHET were clear that as an added protection, outdoor hospitality should be more generally available while indoor hospitality should be for the vaccinated.
Tánaiste: September at the earliest for next reopening
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has indicated it could be September or longer before there is any further easing of restrictions.
And the Fine Gael leader also appeared to contradict the warnings about travel-related Covid cases from the Deputy CMO Dr Ronan Glynn.
Mr Varadkar said theres common sense in not moving forward with relaxing any more restrictions at least until the Delta wave peaks.
Tanaiste Leo Varadkar. (Image: Gareth Chaney/Collins)
He was responding to questions when asked when antigen testing may be permitted to allow people to dine indoors if they are unvaccinated.
He told the Irish Mirror: I think there was a strong sense, certainty in government and certainly advice that we’re getting from NPHET that we should go very carefully around any further easing of restrictions, at least until the Delta wave peaks, and that’ll be in a few weeks time.
It’s anticipated it will peak sometime next month or the month after.
I think there’s certain common sense and not using restrictions further until that happens.”
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