Covid-19 restrictions

  • An Achill publican does not believe it will be feasible for many pubs in rural Ireland to reopen in June, under proposals being put forward by representatives of the pub trade.

    The Vintners Federation of Ireland and the Licensed Vintners Association are meeting with Government officials this week to push for pubs to be allowed to reopen at the end of June, in line with restaurants and cafés, rather than in August as is currently planned.

    The vintners groups have proposed limiting capacity in pubs to allow for social distancing, operating a table service only and banning live music and DJs.

    However Alan Gielty, Chairman of the Mayo branch of the Vintners Federation of Ireland, says the proposals are not feasible for many pubs, as limiting capacity and hiring extra staff would put further pressure on revenues.

    Mr Gielty, who runs Gielty's Clew Bay Bar & Restaurant in Dooagh, Achill, says the last thing he wants is for pubs to reopen, and have to close again if there's a further wave of coronavirus.

    He says protecting public health is the top priority, and pubs should not open until it's safe to do so.

  • Castlebar Celtic are reminding the general public that due to HSE guidelines and Covid-19 restrictions Celtic Park is closed.

    The club have installed CCTV and it is operational in all parts of the grounds.

    Any groups or individuals found gaining access to the facility notably their grass pitch will be asked to leave and/or Gardaí will be notified.

  • The Chief Medical Officer has given his strongest indication yet that Covid-19 restrictions won't be lifted, as planned, next Tuesday.

    The National Public Health Emergency Team is due to advise Government tomorrow about whether any measures can be eased.

    However, the Chief Medical Officer gave the strongest hint yet at his daily press briefing last night that he won't be recommending any easing of the measures.

    Dr. Tony Holohan said as things stand, he wouldn't be advising anything be lifted next week.

    It comes as 31 more deaths were reported from Covid-19, with over 20,000 confirmed cases across the country - including 478 cases now in Mayo, 351 in Galway, 148 in Roscommon and 116 in Sligo.


  • The Tánaiste says the current restrictions on movement may well be extended beyond Easter Sunday.

    The cabinet sub-committee is meeting today to discuss the impact of the rules that were put in place last Friday evening.

    They're due to end on April 12th, but Minister Simon Coveney says they may well go on beyond that.

  • The Football Association of Ireland have pushed back their AGM until September.

    Irish football's governing body say they've "rescheduled in line with COVID-19 restrictions" and say the move will allow time for auditors Grant Thornton to prepare accounts.

    The F-A-I has sought further financial assistance from the government to ensure their "continued viability".

    The association's board chairman Roy Barrett has also informed council members that an EGM will be held in the "near future" to make changes to their rule book and constitution.

  • The Government is denying any divisions with the National Public Health Emergency Team over coronavirus restrictions.

    A phased roadmap has been devised to slowly ease us out of lockdown, with some media reports over the weekend saying the Government and the National Public Health Emergency Team are divided over what should happen.

    But the Government's denied this is the case and has published a letter from the Chief Medical Officer showing Tony Holohan made the recommendations that have been implemented today.

    A spokesperson for the Tanaiste says both sides have an excellent working relationship.


  • A Mayo-based Superintendent is appealing to people to continue abiding by the Government restrictions to try and curb the spread of the coronavirus - particularly over the Easter weekend.

    Last night, the Health Minister signed regulations giving Gardaí emergency powers to enforce restrictions during the pandemic.

    People found not following health advice will be forced to return home and may face fines.

    Superintendent Kevin Gately of Castlebar Garda Station says enforcement is the last resort for Gardai, but he says it's vital that people continue to adhere to the restrictions on movement.

    Superintendent Gately says the Gardai will continue to be visible on roads across the Mayo division, encouraging people to abide by the measures.

  • The Minister for Health Simon Harris says he expects to be advised tomorrow to keep the significant restrictions, to slow the spread of the coronavirus, in place for a period of weeks.

    The National Public Health Emergency Team will meet again tomorrow, and Minister Harris says he expects they will recommend that we continue with the very strict restrictions, and said he expects that to be for a period of weeks.

    The death toll from Covid-19 has risen to 235 yes, after a further 25 people were confirmed to have lost their lives in this country yesterday - including two deaths in the West.

    365 new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed yesterday bringing the national total to over 6,000.

    In Mayo, there are now 130 confirmed cases, with 134 in Galway, 28 in Sligo and 22 in Roscommon.

    The European Centre for Disease Control says it's too early for countries to start lifting community and physical distancing measures.


  • The Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan will brief Cabinet Ministers this afternoon about how Ireland is doing in the fight against Covid 19.

    The two metre social distancing rule and Covid-19 restrictions are expected to dominate the agenda.

    New coronavirus cases have been declining,  with 37 reported yesterday and 9 deaths,  while on Monday no new deaths were reported for the first time in weeks.

    While caution is still advised, the declining numbers have led to questions about whether some restrictions could be eased sooner.

    The two metre social distancing rule will be up for discussion, to see if this could be reduced to one in line with guidance from the World Health Organisation - restaurants and cafes would among those who would greatly benefit from this.

    The Mayo-based Minister for Rural & Community Development Michael Ring agrees that reducing the two-metre social distance would be greatly beneficial for businesses preparing to reopen.

    Minister Ring told Midwest News that this is one of a number of issues he will raise with Dr Holohan this afternoon....

  • Drive-by confessions and outdoor masses could be on the cards as the Catholic Church charts its way out of Covid-19 lockdown.

    These are in addition to bringing services to hundreds of thousands of people who are accessing prayer and Masses online since the introduction of Covid-19 restrictions in March.

    While any return to normal service will be "slow, gradual and evolutionary", Archbishop Eamon Martin, Catholic Primate of All Ireland, is open to suggestions for creative ways to bring people together once again.

    Churches are not due to reopen for ordinary services until July 20, while weddings and baptisms will be subject to social distancing from that date. 

    Drive-in confessions are already on offer in one Dublin parish and the Archbishop said there is no reason they couldn’t be extended to other areas.

    Outdoor masses are not currently an option but the Archbishop is open to the idea in the coming months, weather permitting.

    He sympathised with those affected by cancelled weddings and baptisms and the restrictions imposed on funerals, but said we must be realistic about how quickly normality can resume.

    Archbishop Martin said there's "simply no way" first communions or the blessing of graves can happen at the moment, but added that creative solutions, such as priests offering online services, have been a huge success, offering a "lifeline" to those cut off by the Covid-19 restrictions.

  • The Taoiseach says a plan for exiting Covid-19 restrictions will be published before May 5th.

    The current measures to slow the spread of the disease will be in place until then, but the plan will outline a timeline of how society and the economy can get back to normality.

    Leo Varadkar says however, it is too early to say which restrictions will be lifted next month, if any.

    Speaking on RTE's PrimeTime, he says people will know the exit strategy before May 5th:

  • Restrictions on movement and travel could be in place for months to come.

    The death toll from Covid-19 has risen to 235, after a further 25 people were confirmed to have lost their lives in this country yesterday, while 365 new cases have been confirmed.

    There are now 6,074 diagnosed cases of the virus.

    In Mayo, there are now 130 confirmed cases, with 134 in Galway, 28 in Sligo and 22 in Roscommon.

    The European Centre for Disease Control says it's too early for countries to start lifting community and physical distancing measures.

    The State's Chief medical officer Tony Holohan says the growth rate of the virus needs to reduce significantly:

  • A Roscommon TD is calling for Covid-19 restrictions to be relaxed in counties that have a low number of cases of the virus.

    Independent TD Denis Naughten says it makes no sense that parts of the country with low rates should remain in lockdown to the same extent as areas with a significant problem, and he claims restrictions on returning to work could be relaxed in areas with low rates of infection.

    As of midnight on Monday, there were over 9,000 cases of Covid-19 in Dublin - while Leitrim had only reported 67.

    Deputy Naughten says rural areas can be used as a test for cities to relax restrictions:

  • A zero VAT rate is needed for the hospitality sector to give businesses hope for when they re-open - that's according to Sligo-Leitrim TD Marian Harkin, who says tourism-related businesses across the region are currently faced with increasing costs, and are making decisions as to whether or not it's worth their while reopening.

    The Tourism Minister Shane Ross says he would also support a 0% VAT rate for the tourism industry following the Covid-19 crisis.

    Deputy Marian Harkin told Midwest News that  many involved in the tourism and hospitality sectors claim the current 13.5% VAT rate would not make it worthwhile for them to reopen, after restrictions are lifted....

  • Queues have been reported outside a number of business premises in Castlebar this morning, as today marks the first phase of easing the Covid-19 restrictions.

    Garden centres, DIY stores, golf courses and tennis courses have opened, construction workers have returned to some building sites, and car showrooms are open for sales, service and repair.

    Woodies DIY in Castlebar reported a busy morning, with a large queue outside the store.

    Meanwhile, an infectious diseases specialist is warning of the danger of another wave of Covid-19 cases, as the country eases restrictions.

    About 20,000 retail staff and thousands of outdoor workers are returning to work today.

    It comes as the number of cases reported in Ireland yesterday reached its lowest since mid-March.

    But Professor Jack Lambert is urging people to be cautious as phase one of the roadmap begins.

  • Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he's confident that that the country WILL be able to move into the second phase of easing Covid-19 restrictions next week.

    At a Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting yesterday evening, Mr Varadkar said a final decision on moving into phase two of the roadmap for reopening the country will be made by Cabinet on Friday.

    In a statement after the meeting, Fine Gael parliamentary party chairman Martin Heydon said the Taoiseach was "confident the country would be able to move into Phase Two of the roadmap to ease restrictions in the Covid-19 battle next Monday."

    The second phase will see the ban on non-essential journeys eased to allow people travel up to 20km from their homes. People, including those cocooning, will be allowed invite small groups of people into their homes.

    Over 70s will also be able to visit supermarkets at set times during the day.

    More people will be allowed attend funerals and small retail outlets that can adhere to social distancing guidelines will be permitted to reopen.

    Sports clubs, including GAA and football teams, will be able to hold training sessions – but will still be banned from playing matches. Libraries are also scheduled to reopen.

  • The Taoiseach says he's increasingly confident that Coronavirus restrictions can begin to be unwound from next week.

    The National Public Health Emergency Team is meeting today and its advice will be considered by cabinet Ministers tomorrow.

    Leo Varadkar has warned that some social distancing and hygiene practices will be around for a long time, and said travel to the EU won't return for months.

    However, the Taoiseach says the journey back to normal life should begin next week.

    Meanwhile, the HSE is hoping turnaround times for a Covid test will be three days, from next Monday.

    The Health Executive says it's been working to update its technology to automate results.

    CEO of the HSE, Paul Reid, says it will take three days from reporting symptoms to getting a result.

  • The Taoiseach has said the country is not in a position yet to be able to ease coronavirus restrictions.

    Leo Varadkar has also encouraged people to ignore speculation on how restrictions might be lifted over the coming weeks.

    A decision will be made by the cabinet on Friday as to whether there can be an easing of the lockdown measures.

    But Mr Varadkar says, as things stand, it might not be possible: