Call for Government to change 'blunt' road map to reopening Ireland

Economics professor Edgar Morgenroth has called on the government to change the ‘road map’ to reopening the country.

The current restrictions impose more costs, without the benefit Prof Morgenroth told Newstalk Breakfast.

Some aspects of the road map don’t make sense, he said. He added that books can be bought in supermarkets, but book shops cannot open and petrol stations were selling potted plants before garden centres could reopen.

“It makes absolutely no sense. The focus seems to have been where you sell it, rather than how you sell it,” added the professor of Economics at DCU.

The disease is not going to be spread by potted plants.

Prof Morgenroth called for all shops to be allowed reopen, but with strict physical distancing rules. He pointed out that Austria had reopened shops on April 12, but that masks were compulsory. The number of cases and fatalities in Austria were better than in Ireland, he said.

“The road map itself is blunt, why is three weeks the way to go?”

Prof Morgenroth said that the focus should be on social distancing in areas like shops. “I doubt that a single case of Covid can be traced back to a beach. The majority of cases are indoor.”

However, he warned that there could still be a second surge if the government got the reopening of the country wrong. Austria had reopened earlier with strict rules, he said. “That’s the way we should be looking.

“We’re going to have to start opening up anyway because the economy is doing so badly.”

Prof Morgenroth said that Ireland should look at what has worked in other countries.