The Head of the HSE has urged people to continue complying with health guidelines, or risk throwing away progress made in suppressing the virus. The statement comes amid signs of COVID-compliance starting to wean, while the country is in this delicate phase.
The Government’s new Covid-19 plan has extended the current lockdown and will be reviewed on April 5th, although some businesses reopened this week in defiance of level 5 restrictions. Many more are said to be reopening their businesses in the coming weeks and months, regardless of public health advice.
Cork businesswoman, Susan Ryan reopened her Dublin salon this week and was arrested by Gardái for breaching Covid-19 regulations. Several pubs in the capital have also begun reopening and are serving takeaway pints. Ms Ryan told the Irish Examiner that the government have not provided a clear roadmap, and intends to reopen within a few days.
Killarney-based restaurateur Paul Treyvaud said he intends to open Treyvaud’s Restaurant, also threatened to reopen on July 1st, “no matter what” COVID restrictions are in place. Mr Treyvaud said he has done the math and if he is not open by then, “everything is gone”. He said that as airports and ports cannot close, and a border cannot be agreed, then “I’ve no intention of losing everything I’ve worked my life”.
Emails and “disturbing leaflets” sent by a group calling itself Reopening Tralee have been circulating to encourage companies to reopen on March 1st. Amid the rising backlash, the HSE Chief Executive Paul Reid said the country was at a “delicate phase” and could not afford to waste the progress made on suppressing COVID to date.
Mr Reid said COVID-19 provides a reminder to businesses that flouting restrictions still presents a “high risk. It is a breach of the law. It is a difficult period for everybody, the further extension of the restrictions is a challenge for everybody”.
“I do appreciate it is very difficult for everybody, but we would be throwing away all of the good work, everything we have achieved in the last few weeks in a very difficult time. And, as we know, the virus outmanoeuvres us when we drop our guard.”
Another new variant of COVID-19 has been detected in Ireland called the B1525 strain and flaunting public health guidelines will should be reconsidered.