Written answers

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Steven Matthews (Wicklow, Green Party)
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673. To ask the Minister for Health the medical basis on which the decision to include cinemas in phase five of the re-opening plan was made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5758/20]

Photo of Simon HarrisSimon Harris (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
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The Government’s Roadmap for Reopening Society & Business, published on 1 May 2020, sets out an indicative path to the easing of COVID-19 restrictions and other actions in order to facilitate the reopening Ireland’s society and economy in a phased manner.

In relation to Cultural and Social Measures, including the opening of cinemas where social distancing can be maintained, the Roadmap sets out the public health rationale as follows:

Public health rationale : Recognises need to balance social distancing with physical, cultural and social needs, to support mental and physical health and wellbeing.  The public health rationale is to lift restrictions in such a way as to protect the ability to maintain social distancing prerequisite, thereby limiting the transmission rate and protect the capacity of the health system to cope with the inevitable increase in disease.  This will be done where the visiting population density can be minimised. Restrictions on sporting, entertainment, culinary and cultural sites to be relaxed on phased basis linked to ability to maintain social distance, with emphasis on sport and exercise in the initial and early phases, and social aspects in the later phases. 

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