Nightclub and other venue owners who flaunt Covid-19 regulations are damaging society, the Taoiseach said today.
Micheál Martin says they should take a long hard look at the testimonies of people who have lost loved ones from the deadly virus.
The Taoiseach said a Cabinet sub-committee on economic recovery will meet on Monday, and this will include a discussion on the entertainment industry, changes to the PUP and any other supports for sectors struggling due to recent changes.
As the Irish Examiner reports, he reiterated a warning that some businesses "are not playing by the rules" and urged them to change that in a bid to stop the spread of the virus.
"I would ask people to think again, because they are damaging the entirety of society and our approach."
And he added: “I always think at times like this, that we should always listen to those who have had Covid-19, or those who have lost loved ones because of Covid-19.
“When you hear their stories, and they tell about the awfulness of this disease, how damaging this disease is, no one should want to get it or should be reckless about one's behaviour in any setting, and one has to take precautions to the to one's best ability.”
Mr Martin also said "every effort" will be made to alleviate the pressures on the health service, which he said is going through "another difficult and very challenging" phase.
"Every effort will be made obviously to alleviate the pressures within our health service because of the fourth wave and the impact that it’s having.
“In parallel with that of course, the booster campaign is being rolled out, and over half a million people now, by the end of today, will have received a booster vaccine,” he said.
Some 5,959 new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed to health authorities today. There were 640 Covid-19 patients in hospital, of which 121 were in ICU.
Dr Cillian de Gascun, Nphet member and director of the National Virus Reference Laboratory at UCD, said authorities do not want to recommend a return to lockdown, as has happened in some other European countries including Austria and the Netherlands, but warned the spread of the virus poses a threat to the health service.
Asked if families will have to restrict their numbers for Christmas gatherings this year, the Taoiseach said, “The situation is much different from 12 months ago, because of the level of vaccination within the country.
“So one has to really respond to the wave that we're in with the appropriate set of measures at any given time. That's the approach we're taking just now.
“I think collectively if we keep socialisation down, we can limit the spread of this virus."