Taoiseach says country may reopen more than planned in December

ireland
Taoiseach Says Country May Reopen More Than Planned In December
Micheál Martin said the Government could 'moderate' Level 3 restrictions in December. Photo: PA
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The Government may be able to reopen more of the economy than initially envisaged when Level 5 restrictions end on December 1st, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said.

Non-essential retail, restaurants and pubs shut three weeks ago under Level 5 curbs with the aim of returning to Level 3, which would reopen all shops but only allow outdoor food and drink service to small numbers.

Restaurants and pubs are pushing to be allowed to operate under Level 2 restrictions for the busy Christmas period, which would permit customers to sit physically distanced inside with bars operating table service only.

Pubs that only serve drink opened briefly for the first time since March in mid-September, except for Dublin where they have not been allowed open for nine months.

"I did say on the record of the house that I wanted to get back to Level 3, that was a target but the data will inform how we might look at certain sectors as well and might moderate that," Mr Martin told the Dáil.

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The State's 14-day incidence of 152 cases per 100,000 is the fourth lowest of the 31 countries monitored by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), having fallen 51 per cent compared to the previous two weeks.

The Government has also eased some travel restrictions, in line with the EU's new "traffic light" system, which will likely see many Irish people working abroad return home for Christmas.

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