Written answers

Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Department of Trade, Enterprise and Employment

Covid-19 Pandemic

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Leader of the Opposition; Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
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169. To ask the Minister for Trade, Enterprise and Employment the reason for the decision made regarding the operation of massage therapy under level 5 restrictions; if he will engage with a representative body (details supplied) to discuss its concerns regarding these matters; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34883/20]

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Leader of the Opposition; Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
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170. To ask the Minister for Trade, Enterprise and Employment the detail of the advice provided by NPHET regarding the operation of massage therapy under level 5 restrictions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34884/20]

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Dublin West, Fine Gael)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 169 and 170 together.

As the Deputy is aware, Ireland is currently at Level 5 of Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021 - the Plan for Living with COVID-19. At Level 5, only essential retail outlets and essential services are allowed to open to the public.

The list of essential services that can remain open during Level 5 includes therapy services provided by a member of a designated profession within the meaning of section 3 of the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005 (No. 27 of 2005). There are seventeen professions designated under the 2005 Act, which are encompassed in the list of essential services. These are: Dietitians, Dispensing Opticians, Medical Scientists, Occupational Therapists, Optometrists, Physiotherapists (which includes Physical Therapists), Radiographers, Radiation Therapists, Social Workers, Speech and Language Therapists, Clinical Biochemists, Counsellors, Orthoptists, Podiatrists, Psychologists, Psychotherapists and Social Care Workers.

I fully recognise the challenges business are facing right now but would emphasise that the purpose of these restrictions are to ensure that we reduce the spread of the virus so that we can, in the future, open business back up. Safely.

Photo of Ruairi Ó MurchúRuairi Ó Murchú (Louth, Sinn Fein)
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171. To ask the Minister for Trade, Enterprise and Employment the position regarding the Christmas tree industry and the current Covid-19 restrictions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35189/20]

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Dublin West, Fine Gael)
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Under Level 5 of the Plan for Living with COVID-19, only essential retail outlets will remain open.

The Regulations clearly set out the temporary restrictions and lists the essential services and essential retail outlets under Level 5.

Level 5 does not restrict people from purchasing any product. It does however, restrict people from physically going into non-essential stores. This is to stop people travelling out of their homes unnecessarily and so to limit the spread of the virus.

Mixed retailers have been asked to separate their stock and only sell the items that are essential. While Christmas trees can not be purchased physically in stores, customers can continue to purchase them via online or phone ordering and collection and delivery.

The measures are intended to encourage all of us to stay at home and shop local and to ensure fairness to those non-essential retailers who have had to close. I encourage people not to try to find ways around the regulations but to find ways to do the right thing.

The Government has already helped thousands of businesses, through the Trading Online Voucher Scheme, with 9,919 companies supported in 2020 and through our Online Retail Scheme, with 185 additional retailers supported this year.

I would like to thank retailers and their customers for their efforts at this difficult time. By each of us following the spirit of these new rules and working together we can hopefully return to a lower level of the Living with Covid-19 framework.

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