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Government confirm level three restrictions for Donegal

admin | September 24, 2020

Updated 19:54

The government have announced that level three restrictions will be imposed on Donegal from tonight following recommendations from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET).

Speaking at a Government briefing this evening, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said based on the 14 day incidence rate in the county, he felt it was necessary to move Donegal to level three. He said similar to Dublin, the level three restrictions will remain in place for a three week period starting from tonight until October 16th.

He did confirm however that unlike Dublin, pubs will still be allowed to have indoor dining because the data shows it is not spreading in those locations in the county.

Meanwhile, acting chief medical officer, Dr Ronan Glynn said Donegal now has the highest seven day and 14 day incidence rate per 100,000.

He also said a contributing factor could be that fact Donegal is on the border with Derry, which has seen a rise in cases recently as well.

This evening there were a further 42 confirmed cases in the county and overall 761 cases have been confirmed in Donegal since the beginning of the pandemic. Earlier on Thursday, it was reported that the State’s public health team NPHET privately expressed concerns about the opening of pubs stating that alcohol has a “disinhibiting effect” on people.

At a meeting of the National Public Health Emergency Team in late August, health officials discussed how pubs and bars “pose a particular risk to the spread of Covid-19 as alcohol can have a disinhibiting effect on people and impair judgement.”

Minutes of the NPHET meeting show the team said that regardless of how “well-intentioned people are, it can impair their awareness of and ability to comply with social distancing and hygiene and respiratory advice”.NPHET recommended last week that Dublin needed to be moved to Level three of the Government’s new five-level alert system for containing coronavirus and that pubs not serving food should stay shut when they reopened elsewhere in the country on Monday.

Business supports

In a statement this evening, the Tánaiste Leo Varadkar announced that Donegal businesses affected by the decision to move to Phase three will receive additional government funding.

Mr Varadkar TD said: “Today’s decision will come as a blow to the business owners of Donegal, their families and their staff, and especially for rural pubs which have only just opened the doors.

“I know this will feel like another set back after what has been a really tough year. This decision has been taken to halt the spread of the virus and protect our most vulnerable. I believe it will also be better for business in the long run as it will limit the damage of the virus on our communities.” These business supports include at topped up restart grant. Any Donegal businesses impacted by 25 per cent or more fall in turnover will be entitled to a 30 per cent top-up, bringing the new minimum for affected counties to €5,200 and the new maximum to €32,500.

Mr Varadkar also said that ppplications from Donegal will be prioritised for the wide range of existing loan and voucher schemes available to assist businesses affected by Covid-19 through the July Jobs Stimulus and other Government initiatives.

READ MORECovid figures in Dublin beginning to stablise according to Health Minister

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