By Ron Howells • 30 June 2021 • 9:10
Ireland limits indoor hospitality to fully vaccinated over Delta variant fears. image: Wikipedia
Ireland limits indoor hospitality to fully vaccinated over Delta variant fears.
THE government of Ireland said it will restrict indoor drinking and eating in bars and restaurants to those who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or who have previously been infected by it due to concerns about the Delta variant.
The country joins a handful of other places in Europe that have introduced similar measures, including Austria, Denmark and Israel, while Moscow has also followed Europe’s lead.
Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin, who announced a general slowdown of the easing of public health restrictions, said that health officials told him they thought that the more infectious Delta variant made indoor hospitality far too dangerous for the unvaccinated.
“The safest way to now proceed with a return to indoor hospitality is to limit access to those who have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid infection,” Martin said.
Up to June 29, only 41 per cent of Ireland’s adult population has been vaccinated, with 65 per cent having received one dose, the health minister said on Monday. A senior health official earlier this month said some in their 20s may have to wait until September for a first dose.
Indoor venues such as theatres and concert venues may also face restrictions to lower outbreak risks, Martin later told journalists.
Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said that the only other option to a vaccine verification system that had been presented to the government by Irish health officials was closing indoor hospitality for the foreseeable future.
“The alternative is not a delay of a few weeks … the alternative is a prolonged delay until we reach herd immunity, and with new variants very likely, we just cannot say when that would be,” Varadkar told a press briefing.
Varadkar said that while people would “feel it is divisive, that they are being left outside,” the government felt it was the least bad option.
Bars, restaurants, and cafes have been closed in Ireland for much of the past 16 months, with the latest national lockdown in place since late December. Outdoor dining and drinking has been allowed since June 7. The country also has some of the strictest travel restrictions in the European Union.
Ireland has the fifth-highest rate of Covid-19 infections of the 31 countries monitored by the European Centre for Disease Control.
Martin said indoor dining would now not be reopened on Monday as planned but would be delayed until a new system of vaccine certification has been implemented. Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said the details of the verification had not been finalised but could involve a QR code readable by a smartphone.
Ireland limits indoor hospitality as cabinet ministers in the UK are set to shelve plans for the use of vaccine passports. This means that it will not be compulsory to show or carry a Covid passport to gain entry to music festivals, sports events or other mass gatherings when lockdown restrictions are lifted next month.
The mandatory use of ‘Covid certification’ will end after Freedom Day on July 19. Plans for pubs and restaurants have already been scrapped following a massive backlash from MPs and the hospitality sector.
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Ron actually started his working career as an Ophthalmic Technician- things changed when, during a band rehearsal, his amplifier blew up and he couldn’t get it fixed so he took a course at Birmingham University and ended up doing a degree course. He built up a chain of electronics stores and sold them as a franchise over 35 years ago. After five years touring the world Ron decided to move to Spain with his wife and son, a place they had visited over the years, and only bought the villa they live in because it has a guitar-shaped swimming pool!.
Playing the guitar since the age of 7, he can often be seen, (and heard!) at beach bars and clubs along the length of the coast. He has always been interested in the news and constantly thrives to present his articles in an interesting and engaging way.
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