Ireland's Phase 4 of reopening will not launch as originally planned on Monday, August 10
Taoiseach Micheál Martin announced a number of changes to Ireland’s response to coronavirus today following a Cabinet meeting with Ireland’s National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET).
As per Ireland’s Roadmap to reopen society and the economy, the country was supposed to enter into Phase 4 from this Monday, August 10. Phase 4 was previously delayed after an increase in the R number in the country.
Speaking on August 4, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said: "I wish that I was in the position to share better news today, but I am not."
Martin said that the five-day moving average for confirmed cases newly reported to the Department of Health is 45.4, up from 6.4 on June 24. The 14-day incidence per 100,000 is 7.54, up from 2.46 in the 14 days up to the 30th of June.
"To be clear, these figures are still good in an international context," Martin said. "The Irish people have done an incredible job in controlling this virus. But the figures do show just how important it is for us to remain vigilant."
Quoting Dr. Ronan Glynn, the acting Chief Medical Officer, Martin said Ireland is "very delicately balanced" at the moment.
Citing the new figures, and the international trend of increased transmission, the Taoiseach revealed a number of decisions based on the advice of NPHET.
Pubs and nightclubs to remain closed
“Firstly, and I know that this will come as a bitter disappointment to many people," Martin said, "the government has agreed to continue with the current public health measures that are in place.
“Therefore, pubs, bars, hotel bars, night clubs, and casinos will remain closed.
"Also the current restrictions on numbers attended indoor and outdoor gatherings will remain unchanged.” (The current restrictions limit indoor events to 50 people and outdoor events to 200 people.)
“We will review the evidence again in three weeks’ time,” Martin said.
Taoiseach @MichealMartinTD says "pubs, bars, hotel bars, night clubs and casinos will remain closed. Also the current restrictions on numbers attended indoor and outdoor gatherings will remain unchanged." It will be reviewed in three weeks | #Covid19 blog: https://t.co/FfF3Pet6Td pic.twitter.com/OZfIHKMx6n— RTÉ News (@rtenews) August 4, 2020
He continued: "I know that this will come as a blow to pub owners, and I want them to know that I have enormous sympathy for their plight. This virus is taking away their ability to earn a living; it is stopping them from providing a key service in the heart of many communities, especially in rural Ireland.
"We are doing what we're doing to save lives and to give our society and the economy the best chance to reopen safely and sustainably. International evidence shows very clearly that pubs and nightclubs reopening too early leads directly and inextricably to increased community transmission.
"That is the very worst thing that could happen here. It would be very damaging for our economy in the longer term, it would be very damaging to our plan to reopen schools safely, and it would of course be very damaging for our public health."
Pubs in Ireland that serve food - “substantial meals” that cost at least €9- were permitted to reopen on June 29. Pubs that do not serve food were originally scheduled to reopen on July 10, which was delayed until August 10, and now again for at least another three weeks.
Later, Martin, saying he would not use the term "curfew," announced that pubs and restaurants that are currently permitted to be open must close by 11 pm daily beginning Monday. Tanaiste Leo Varadkar later clarified that customers must be off-premises by 11 pm, but such businesses can remain open for takeaway and / or delivery service.
Face Coverings mandatory in shops
Martin announced: "Face coverings will be mandatory in shops and shopping centers across the country from the 10th of August.
"As we've seen with face coverings on public transport, and the many other requests that have been made of citizens over the course of the pandemic, when people are given a clear direction, they follow it."
Taoiseach @MichealMartinTD says face coverings will be mandatory in shops and shopping centres from 10 August "When people are give a clear direction, they follow it." | #Covid19 live blog: https://t.co/FfF3Pet6Td pic.twitter.com/MKduPwmHFG— RTÉ News (@rtenews) August 4, 2020
Changes to Ireland's Green List for travel
Taoiseach Martin also announced changes to Ireland's "green list" for travel. People arriving in to Ireland from countries on the green list do not have to abide by the 14-day self-isolation period.
While no countries have been added to the list, Gibraltar, San Marino, Cyprus, Malta, and Monaco have been removed.
"We continue to advise people that the safest thing they can do in terms of their own health and the health of the country is to stay in Ireland," Martin said.
Taoiseach @MichealMartinTD says Gibraltar, San Marino, Cyprus, Malta and Monaco have been removed from the Government's Green List for travel. He reiterates that the safest thing to do is to stay in Ireland | #Covid19. More @rtenews.pic.twitter.com/faV5XVhhEA— RTÉ (@rte) August 4, 2020
You can watch back on the entire press briefing from August 4 here: