Reopening of pubs in doubt.
The idea of give-an-inch-take-a-mile seems a permanent, unavoidable part of our make-up, even if that impatience undermines what we set out to achieve.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin had to face that behaviour yesterday when he warned that those who go to pubs but fail to observe social distancing may well force the Government to defer the long-awaited full reopening of pubs on July 20 — next Monday week.
That same principle may have to apply to travel restrictions if guideline around it are ignored.
His remarks followed weekend scenes, mainly in Dublin, when crowds gathered to enjoy the first phase of pub and restaurant reopenings.
Gardai walking around the streets in Dublin City Centre to make sure pubs are not breaking the guidelines on social distancing, serving food or time limits etc— Barry Whyte (@BarryWhyte85) July 4, 2020
Yet this is allowed on Dame Lane..... pic.twitter.com/4inEgsY2Rm
Unfortunately, there was a flagrant disregard for social distancing long before alcohol challenged discipline.
It might be comforting to say a minority failed at the first opportunity but, soberingly, all of those who went to city centre pubs were unable to observe social distancing.
After all, there seems a direct contradiction between the idea of a convivial Irish pub and Covid-19 obligations.
This is more than unfortunate as not only does it jeopardise public health and devalue the efforts made to control Covid-19, it further threatens the 22,500 jobs at risk in pubs across the country due to Covid-19.
Drinks industry sources suggest sales may fall by 50% for the remainder of 2020.
This is a difficult situation but it will be overcome if we contain ourselves and take just an inch when only an inch is offered.