Business Minister Heather Humphreys confirms likely relaxation of two-metre social distancing rule

Business Minister Humphreys said that Fáilte Ireland were working with the HSE and services sector to develop protocols, which are expected to be published on Tuesday.
Business Minister Heather Humphreys confirms likely relaxation of two-metre social distancing rule
Minister Humphreys speaking today. Restaurants, businesses and pubs among others are awaiting these for guidance on how to reopen their doors. Picture: Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland

Business Minister Heather Humphreys confirmed that there is likely to be some relaxation of the two-metre rule in the coming weeks, particularly for services restricted by the social distancing rule.

She said that Fáilte Ireland were working with the HSE and services sector to develop protocols, which are expected to be published on Tuesday. Restaurants, businesses and pubs among others are awaiting these for guidance on how to reopen their doors.

“As part of their work, they are looking at the implementation of the two-metre rule across the hospitality sector. Provided that figures go in the right direction and the transmission rate remains low, it might be that in certain spaces it won't be necessary to strictly apply the two-metre rule. This is all under review and we will await the outcome of those discussions.”

She acknowledged that Fáilte Ireland had produced figures which showed the two-metre rule would cause difficulties for the sector.

Her remarks come after a report for her department confirmed that the two-metre rule could cost thousands of jobs to be lost because premises cannot function.

It found that less than a quarter of people working in hotels, restaurants and pubs would return to work at the end of June if the Covid-19 rule is kept in the sector.

Ms Humphreys today announced that supports for businesses working online would increase to €20m, where grants of up to €5,000 can go to firms.

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