Coronavirus: Social distancing guidelines for hospitality sector being examined

Coronavirus: Social distancing guidelines for hospitality sector being examined

The 2-metre social distancing rule for hotels, pubs and restaurants could be reduced to 1-metre, at times when the Covid-19 transmission rate is low.

Guidelines are being reviewed to help the hospitality sector, with fears the current measures mean thousands of people will not return to work in the tourism sector.

It was confirmed last night that a further four people with Covid-19 have died, bringing the death toll here to 1,683, while nine new cases were confirmed.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan says they are examining the social distancing guidelines for the hospitality sector.

“We think we could make a further contribution, if you like, to the continued assurance of safety of both staff and customers in the hospitality sector over the course of periods of low transmission, while recognising that there will a be a continuing challenge for them in meeting some of the restrictions,” he said.

“So that’s work that we are doing the moment, and we’ll give further advice to government when we’ve completed those pieces of guidance.”

Last night, the CMO urged more people to wear face masks in public. Dr Holohan warned that the mission to suppress coronavirus is not yet accomplished.

He told a Covid-19 media briefing that he had been shopping himself at the weekend, wearing a mask, and was struck by the number of people who did not have one on.

“I did notice that the majority of people were not wearing masks, and it is our clear recommendation … that people in those settings should wear them,” he said.

“And maybe the shops and retail environments might take steps to remind the public of the importance of sticking to the advice we’re giving.”

He stressed that face masks were only an additional hygiene measure and were not a substitute for other precautions, such as hand washing and social distancing.

The CMO said there remained a reluctance to making the wearing of masks and face shields mandatory.

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