Written answers

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

Covid-19 Pandemic

Photo of Carol NolanCarol Nolan (Laois-Offally, Independent)
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566. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the phase reopening bridal stores falls into; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5843/20]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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The Roadmap, phase one of which commenced on May 18th, sets out how we can keep the level of transmission of COVID-19 as low as possible while balancing continuing restrictions in proportion with the positive social and economic benefits which will be brought about by businesses reopening.  It is important to note that all decisions taken by Government on the timing of any lifting of restrictions will be guided by the public health advice at the time.

Businesses should review the Roadmap carefully and carry out a detailed assessment of their activities with regard to the continuing public health measures.  Businesses should, based on their assessment, identify which category in which phase of reopening they will be in a position to reopen safely and in line with the continued public health measures.  It is not necessary for businesses to seek official authorisation to reopen.

The National Return to Work Safely Protocol is a useful guide for businesses in making their assessments and adapting their workplace procedures and practices to comply fully with the COVID-19 related public health protection measures. It sets out in very clear terms for employers and workers the steps that they must take firstly before a workplace reopens, and then while it continues to operate.

The Protocol is available on www.gov.ie. The HSA will be the lead agency in overseeing compliance with the Protocol in the workplace.  If employers or employees need further guidance on the Protocol, the HSA Helpline can be contacted at 1890 289 389 or wcu@hsa.ie.

It is important to note that all decisions taken by Government on the timing of any lifting of restrictions will be guided by the public health advice at the time.

Businesses should review the Roadmap carefully and carry out a detailed assessment of their activities with regard to the continuing public health measures.  Businesses should, based on their assessment, decide in which phase they will be in a position to reopen safely and in line with the continued public health measures.  It is not necessary for businesses to seek official authorisation to reopen.

The National Return to Work Safely Protocol is a useful guide for businesses in making their assessments and adapting their workplace procedures and practices to comply fully with the COVID-19 related public health protection measures. It sets out in very clear terms for employers and workers the steps that they must take firstly before a workplace reopens, and then while it continues to operate.

Photo of Seán FlemingSeán Fleming (Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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567. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the advice which will be given to businesses such as hotels on the basis that the intended targets in relation to Covid-19 are reached regarding weddings and large social gatherings in hotels in November and December; if it is expected that there will be a limit on the number that can attend in view of the fact some persons have to plan accordingly and may not wish to proceed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5910/20]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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The Roadmap announced by Government on 1stMay sets out the phases of reopening of the economy and society.  The primary considerations in drawing up this Roadmap were public health concerns.  The input and advice of National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) informed Government that the steps laid out in the Roadmap were the right steps to take at this time.

My Department contributed to the considerations around the phased re-opening of sectors and I will work within Government to secure further details and clarity for businesses as we progress through the phases outlined in the Roadmap.

The Roadmap is a living document and Government has the ability to change its plans depending on the circumstances existing as we progress through each phase. It will be subject to regular review in the context of the progression or suppression of the disease in Ireland or new guidance or research that emerges from other sources.

As set out in the Roadmap document, the measures for Phase 4 are only an indication of what might happen if everything goes well with restricting the spread of COVID-19 in Ireland. They will only come into effect when the National Public Health Emergency Team says that the conditions are right for more relaxation of the restrictions in place to protect us all.

It is not possible at this time to predict what the limitation on group sizes will be in November and December and this will be reviewed closer to the time and in accordance with the over-riding principles set out in the Roadmap.

I understand that there is ongoing engagement by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport with Fáilte Ireland and representatives of the hospitality sector for the purpose of addressing the challenges currently posed by COVID-19 for that sector.  The outputs from those discussions will also inform any decisions to be taken by Government in relation to the convening of large gatherings in hotels in the context of the Government's Roadmap.

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