Leo Varadkar has said that the hospitality sector is unlikely to return before the end of March in a grim new lockdown update.
While Taoiseach Micheal Martin suggested that the government had no plans to implement curfews, insisting that most members of the public co-operate with the current restrictions.
Ireland is currently under a Level Five lockdown, the tightest form of restrictions under the Living with Covid plan.
And the Government is set to reevaluate these measures at the end of the month, with the Tanaiste suggesting they were likely to be extended.
Here is all the latest from the two most powerful people in the country:
Taoiseach Micheal Martin
The Fianna Fail leader has said that there are no plans to implement “curfews” in a bid to fight the spread of the virus.
He told Pat Kenny on Newstalk: “We don’t have a tradition of curfews, or indeed we don’t have the legislation in place to give effect to curfews.
“The gardai are consistently staying to us that when they meet people out and about, they engage with people, they explain the rules, they encourage people, and then they enforce.
“By and large the vast, vast majority of people respond to the gardai when they engage with them, that is the truth of it, that is the reality.
“Certainly in a situation like now with the 5km it’s easier for gardai to enforce the regulations than if you were just dealing with the county boundary guidance.”
He continued: “I think broadly speaking we moved to Level Five in the middle of Christmas, but we got mobility down very quickly, that was the whole purpose.”
Tanaiste Leo Varadkar
Restaurants and pubs that don’t serve food were forced to shut their doors last month after a surge in new coronavirus cases.
And it looks likely that they will be forced to stay closed for several months at least as Ireland battles to contain a third wave of infections.
However there was some better news as the Fine Gael leader suggested a decision on the return of schools could be made before that date.
He told Claire Byrne on RTE Radio One: “Government will review the situation on January 30 and confer with NPHET and seek advice from other groups as well, and make a decision as to what we can do from February 1.
“What I’m saying is to people who are in business and work for businesses that are closed is that realistically the safest thing is prepare for the fact we may not be able to reopen those business until the end of March, and that’s not to say that schools may not go back and things like construction that was limited could go back.”
He continued: “There’s three things that I’m looking at. We want to get community transmission down very low, we want to see the ICU numbers down certainly below 50, it’s way above that now it will take time for that to happen.
“And what’s very different about this wave is that we have the vaccine now. I think it’s very hard to say in the middle of February to say we’ll take the risk [to reopen] now when we actually have the vaccine. “
Source: Dublin News