Words: Eva O’Beirne
Adrian Cummins, CEO of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, has said the Government should publish scientific data it received from NPHET which led to the introduction of the 20:00 curfew.
Speaking to the Irish Daily Star, Cummins said: “We’re looking for the curfew to be lifted. We need to see the scientific evidence around the 20:00 restrictions.”
“Outdoor dining and outdoor hospitality need to be reactivated immediately. A lot of businesses put huge amounts of money into that so that they could do outdoor dining. We need the resumption of normal trading hours. We need to see the evidence which was why the restrictions were brought in.”
The demands come after it was revealed that schools have been the biggest source of Covid-19 outbreaks after homes in the past six months. Restaurants and cafés accounted for around three per cent of outbreaks.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin clarified on Monday that the 20:00 curfew will not be lifted this week, but is under consideration as the Government appears eager to lift the curfew and support an immediate reopening rather than a gradual easing of restrictions.
Minutes of a NPHET meeting held in mid-December show some members did not agree with proposals for earlier closing times in hospitality. The minutes show some public health experts “voiced concern” at the meeting, saying that such strict measures were “disproportionate by international comparison”.
Some NPHET members claimed their focus should be on reducing capacity within venues rather than limiting trading hours. NPHET had originally proposed a 17:00 closing time but the Government introduced the 20:00 closing time before Christmas.
Elsewhere on District: Dublin councillors reject “shady” Iveagh Market ownership deal