Ireland’s prime minister Micheál Martin has announced a tightening of the country’s measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.
According to the BBC News, some of the measures being implemented include a drop in capacity for indoor events such as concerts, as well as an altogether shutting of nightclubs.
BBC policy editor Lewis Goodall tweeted that these new rules will begin from on Tuesday (December 7), and will remain in place until Sunday (December 9).
It comes amid advice offered to Martin by chief medical officer Tony Holohan, alongside the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET). In his press conference, Martin told reporters that “[the] risks associated with proceeding into the Christmas period without some restrictions to reduce the volume of personal contacts is just too high”.
Nightclubs – which only reopened on October 22 following the initial lockdown – will be forced to close entirely, with no ability for them to operate under restricted circumstances. Indoor venues – which include live music hotspots, pubs and sporting halls – will need to enact capacity limits set at a maximum of 50 per cent.
Policy makers and politicians will be watching Irish public’s reaction to the measures closely- both in terms of opinion polls (we’re in new territory with significant restrictions being imposed with vaccines) and adherence.
— Lewis Goodall (@lewis_goodall) December 3, 2021
These venues will also be to subject to a suite of rules returning from prior crackdowns, such as punters being barred from queuing in lines to order food or drinks, a limit of six adults per table, and a mandate on masks being worn when customers are away from their tables.
Martin promised that venues severely impacted by the new restrictions would be eligible for financial support, acknowledging that several industries “will be bitterly disappointed by this news” and “many of them will be fearing for their livelihoods”.
“I want to reassure them that just as we have done since the beginning of the pandemic, the government will stand by them and ensure that they have the financial supports necessary to weather this latest storm and to stay intact until we are out of it,” he said (per the BBC).
Last month, Van Morrison was sued by Robin Swann, the health minister for Northern Ireland, over comments relating to COVID-19 that the singer made earlier this year.