Tuesday, 16 June 2020
Department of Health
712. To ask the Minister for Health if he will provide clarification on social distancing guidelines that hotels, restaurants and cafés must follow; and the estimated length of time these restrictions will be in place [11542/20]
While the evidence relating to the SARS-CoV-2 virus is evolving, it is clear now that the risks of transmission of any respiratory pathogens such as the type that causes Covid-19 are lessened when greater distance is maintained between people. The current advice is that you should follow social distancing guidance everywhere outside the home, including keeping a physical distance of 2 metres apart. It is also recommended that face coverings be worn in situations where social distancing is difficult to maintain, such as shops, and on public transport, or when meeting someone who is vulnerable to the virus, for example people who are cocooning. The recommendation applies to those people aged over 13 who can tolerate them.
This advice is kept under review by the National Public Health Emergency Team on a continuing basis. Arising from their meeting of 4 June, 2020, the National Public Health Emergency Team has requested that the Health Protection Surveillance Centre develop guidance on the application of existing social distancing requirements in specific, defined and controlled environments in the hospitality industry during periods of low incidence of the disease. This guidance will then be considered by the National Public Health Emergency Team on completion.
The Deputy may also wish to note that on 9 May the “Return to Work Safely Protocol - COVID-19 Specific National Protocol for Employers and Workers” was published. It provides clear guidance to employers and to workers on the measures that must be taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. The Protocol was developed through the cooperation of the Health and Safety Authority, the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, the HSE and my Department. It is designed to be used by all workplaces to adapt their procedures and practices to provide protection against the threat of COVID-19.
713. To ask the Minister for Health the length of time between all persons with suspected cases of Covid-19 who requested a test and the completion of the contact tracing for these cases in the weeks commencing 18 and 25 May and 1 June 2020, by county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11553/20]