An Taoiseach Micheál Martin has confirmed that indoor dining will not reopen next week as had been planned.
He said the advise from health experts was that proceeding with reopening on Monday July 5th would lead to a greater increase in the spread of the virus, increase hospital admissions and illness and death.
Mr Martin said that the safest way to proceed with return to hospitality is to limit access to those who have been fully vaccinated and those who’ve recovered from Covid-19.
“Over the course of the coming weeks, Government will work urgently with the relevant sectors to agree a practical and workable approach,” he added.
“The simple truth is that we are in a race between the variant and vaccines, and we want to do everything we possibly can to make sure that the vaccine wins.”
The Cabinet did agree that other planned measures will go ahead on Monday, July 5th including the number of people allowed at weddings rise to 50.
Attendances at sports grounds will also increase to 200 or up to 500 at venues with a capacity of 5,000.
NPHET’s latest projections on the impact of the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant on Covid were described as “grim” and “sobering”.
The worst-case scenario would potentially see almost 700,000 cases of Covid-19 over July, August and September, with as many as 2,170 deaths as the Delta variant becomes dominant. The most optimistic projection would see 81,000 cases and 165 deaths.
The Irish Times reports that the modelling estimated almost 13,000 hospital admissions over the three months, and more than 1,600 people in intensive care units should the most pessimistic scenario play out.
The chief executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland Adrian Cummins said his members were angry and frustrated at the potential delay in the reopening of indoor dining.