Ireland may be one of the most vaccinated countries in Europe against COVID-19, but that hasn’t been enough to stop the spread of the virus there, and now the population is facing new curfews and other restrictions.
Prime Minister Micheal Martin said the rise in infections being seen there is a “cause of deep concern” and announced the country will institute several new “semi-lockdown” measures to stop people from socializing and spreading the disease. One part of the new approach is a nationwide midnight curfew on restaurants, clubs and bars.
The move could be devastating to the already-shaky dining and entertainment industry. The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland, which represents around 4,000 Irish pub owners, said it will effectively close their establishments, stating: “The news that restricted trading hours are set to be reintroduced is a hugely disappointing development for the many late-night pubs and night clubs many of whom will now be forced to shut just three weeks after reopening.”
There will also be new work from home guidelines that encourage people who are able to work from home to do so. In addition, Covid passports will now be required to enter theaters and cinemas.
The government has also instructed fully vaccinated household close contacts of people with the virus to stay at home for five days and get tested.
In Ireland, 93 percent of the population is vaccinated, so these extreme measures and the case spikes that prompted them should raise a lot of questions among those who have put so much faith in these vaccines.
Ireland’s high vaccination rate has done little to stop cases from rising 275 percent in the past month, yet somehow they have come to the conclusion that more vaccines are needed, as Martin has instructed health authorities to look into reducing the five-month gap between a person’s initial round of vaccines and booster shots.
The PM told his party on Wednesday that he cannot guarantee there won’t be another full lockdown in the coming weeks. He said: “We are in a challenging period, and the coming weeks will be uncertain, with no guarantees.”
Meanwhile, Irish Parliament Member Willie O’Dea has threatened more severe lockdowns if people continue to gather in large groups without masks. The former minister expressed dismay at seeing people gathered in long lines outside clubs in Limerick just 24 hours after the government asked people to limit their social contacts.
“The function of the original lockdown was to stop people congregating and behaving irresponsibly, and the Government policy now is to depend on people to do that voluntarily. Of course if they don’t do that voluntarily, it could inevitably lead to another lockdown, which nobody wants.”