Even More Restrictions On The Way!
The government will be meeting today to determine whether the modifications to level 5 brought in after Christmas will be scrapped or not, banning retail business and making the COVIDIOT lockdown even more draconian!
The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform has said the situation with the coronavirus is "deteriorating quite quickly" and the Government must today consider whether to remove some or all of the current modifications to Level 5.
The Cabinet will meet this afternoon to discuss further restrictions to prevent the spread of Covid-19, including a ban on all household visits, the closure of non-essential retail and a 5km limit on travel.
Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Michael McGrath said we are at a point where we can "see the destination on the horizon" particularly with the introduction of the vaccine.
"But as is often the case, the last part of the journey can be the most difficult and treacherous," he said.
"We have a difficult road ahead but we know where we're going and we're well on that road now."
Yesterday the Department of Health was notified of nine more coronavirus-related deaths and just over 1,500 new cases of the disease.
Minister McGrath said we are at a "very serious juncture" in relation to the transmission of the virus.
"This latest request to delay sales has resulted in footfall being around 50% down," he said. "There's no comparison in terms of what's going on in retail now compared to what was going on in retail in 2019."
Mr Graham described the possible closure as a "draconian measure" and said a third lockdown could "absolutely prove fatal" for some businesses.
He said roughly 40,000 retail workers would be put back on the PUP payment if there is another lockdown, and the likelihood of many of them securing a job once lockdown has ended is "remote."
Retailers have been developing their online presence during the course of 2020, he said, but not all retailers have gone down that route.
"And it's not easy to just flick a switch and develop an e-commerce platform," Mr Graham said.
"We've been extremely adaptable but there's no doubt that we need retail to remain open for the viability of the industry."