Ministers to consider easing restrictions amid calls from TDs for faster reopening

The committee will look at the latest advice from National Public Health Emergency Team before a full Cabinet meeting on Friday.
Ministers to consider easing restrictions amid calls from TDs for faster reopening

The Cabinet Covid-19 sub-committee will meet on Thursday to consider easing public health restrictions further from next month.

The committee will look at the latest advice from National Public Health Emergency Team before a full Cabinet meeting signs off on a decision on Friday.

It comes amid growing pressure from TDs within Government parties, who, according to The Irish Examiner, have been critical of new regulations for the hospitality sector and are pushing for a faster easing of restrictions.

Members of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have hit out at the slow reopening of international travel and vented anger at new guidelines for pubs and restaurants.

Customers will have to be out of pubs and restaurants by 11.30pm and live music has been banned under new reopening guidelines for the hospitality sector.

From June 7th, six people over the age of 13 will be allowed to dine outdoors, but the maximum at a table will be 15 when children are included.

Pubs and restaurants are not expected to be allowed to serve indoors until July.

Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael members have criticised the continuation of hotel quarantine as well as the lack of clarity on international travel during private party meetings.

However, addressing the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party on Wednesday evening, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the planned reopening of society and the economy is working.

He said the mood of people is extraordinarily positive as they are getting vaccinated and stressed that hospitality guidelines will evolve with flexibilities over time.

“We need to keep it simple on guidelines and they will be kept under constant review,” Mr Martin told party members.

Financial supports

This was echoed by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar who said the Government is aiming to bring the country down to “Level 2” restrictions by July.

He told a Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting that there will be no announcement on the continuation of Covid supports when the Government updates restrictions on Friday, but he expects the same level of supports to remain in place until September.

Mr Varadkar also warned colleagues that a fourth wave is still a real possibility as 2.5 million people have yet to receive a first vaccine dose. He urged caution in the coming weeks.

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