With the Coronavirus restrictions suddenly being rapidly accelerated with the various stages being amalgamated – gyms, hairdressers and barbers can now open from June 29th not July 20th as previously planned and many pubs serving food can open from June 29th, things are progressing much faster than anticipated in Ireland.
Tonight, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar government has announced that indoor gatherings of up to 50 people will be permitted from June 29th with indoor gatherings of 100 people permitted from July 20th.
Gatherings of up to 200 people will also be permitted outdoors from July 29th as long as social distancing is in place. The plan seems to be gatherings of up to 500 people will also be allowed from July 29th.
So that technically means that small gigs, cultural events, weddings and sporting events with close contact can take place under these rules. Whether the public will have the confidence to attend events like a live gig, theatres, remain to be seen but there is clearly an appetite for some normality to return.
1,716 have died in Ireland from the COVID-19 virus while 23 people are in intensive care right now here and while it has slowed in recent weeks, there is always a danger that as things open up, including international travel and increased movement that it could return.
But this is where we find ourselves. Experts expect a second wave to return in the autumn if not before so it’s still hard to plan for events. Masks are currently not mandatory or in widespread use by people in shops which personally, is a worry for another outbreak, even though the government recommend the use of masks in enclosed spaces.
In Seoul recently, nightclubs have been directly responsible for an outbreak – in one case – 119 new coronavirus infections were traced to the Itaewon nightlife district in the first weekend of May and one man who visited five clubs that weekend has been traced as a source for the majority of them. So we can almost certainly expect clusters in the future before there is a vaccine.