Irish Examiner view: Carrots with caveats approach to lifting Covid restrictions

If the rapid uptake of vaccines continues, Nphet would be optimistic that some of the remaining restrictions could be lifted sooner than expected
Irish Examiner view: Carrots with caveats approach to lifting Covid restrictions

Chief medical officer Tony Holohan has raised hopes of lifting restrictions as new data showed the young are now hardest hit by Covid. Picture: Sam Boal / RollingNews.ie

One of the patterns that has emerged in the course of the pandemic is that, in the days before a bank holiday weekend various, official voices point to some as yet unreachable sunny upland. 

A regular carrot-and-stick policy, it is designed to encourage responsibility by outlining what might be achieved, or what is at risk, if we drop our defences.

Even though that discipline is ever more difficult to sustain the take-it-handy warnings, and the carrots too, have been rolled out ahead of the August bank holiday.

Chief medical officer Tony Holohan has raised hopes of lifting restrictions as new data showed the young are now hardest hit by Covid. 

He said that if the rapid uptake of vaccines continues, Nphet would be optimistic that some of the remaining restrictions could be lifted sooner than expected.

Right on cue, the Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan suggested the vaccination programme means that a gradual return to the workplace could begin in September. 

Throwing an ace on the table, Taoiseach Micheál Martin yesterday gave a strong hint of relaxed crowd restrictions ahead of the All-Ireland hurling final on Sunday, August 22. 

The 18,000 ceiling looks likely to be significantly enhanced, possibly even doubled, according to an announcement expected from Jack Chambers, junior minister for sport and Government chief whip next week.

It is, as the hurling pundits might say, all to play for.

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