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Dublin lockdown could be 'death knell' for some businesses - Varadkar

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Tanaiste Leo Varadkar (Niall Carson/PA)

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar (Niall Carson/PA)

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar (Niall Carson/PA)

Leo Varadkar has warned moving to further restrictions in Dublin, could be a “death knell” to some businesses.

The Tánaiste denied Dublin has been afforded “special treatment” after immediate level 3 restrictions were avoided under new covid-19 Government plans, despite high case numbers.

Mr Varadkar warned “Dublin is our capital city. The tightening of restrictions (on previous counties locked down) had a severe impact on business.”

And the “scale of that” would be “ten times” worse in Dublin, he explained.

“I’m very aware what it would mean for people to be laid off for the second time this year and the hospitality sector is just getting by.

“A further closure could be the death knell for them."

Mr Varadkar said he understood some people “have to come to the capital for work, or to attend a hospital appointment.

“But we are saying to people across the country to work from home and not to make journeys out of Dublin.

“If you have to leave for work, or to care for someone that’s different.”

However, the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, even hinted that Dublin could be set to move to level 4, if figures aren’t controlled.

“If we move to level three or four in the next.. week, that (restrictions) may be enforced.

“We will have a better idea on Thursday,” he added.

“The numbers in Dublin aren't good. They are lower than Belfast and Madrid but in Ireland we have been more cautious than other countries.

“It’s not so much the numbers but the trajectory we are worried about.

“It’s starting to have a knock on on the number in ICU and the deaths are going in the wrong direction.”

NPHET are to make a recommendation on Thursday to the Government on what measures it feels should be taken in Dublin.

That decision will then be considered by the new Covid-19 Oversight group.

Mr Varadkar said NPHET are “brilliant” but they did not have expertise in running the economy.

The Government is expected to make an announcement on Tuesday on Dublin but it could come before that with an earlier cabinet meeting, Mr Varadkar explained.

Mr Varadkar responded to the concerns of Today FM radio listeners that Dublin had been given a lighter touch approach compared to Kildare, Offaly and Laois, locked down last month.

Yesterday’s Covid-19 figures showed Dublin is on a continuing upward trend - with 357 cases and three further deaths.

However the Government’s new Living with Covid roadmap has kept the capital at level 2 restrictions along with the rest of the country.

Signs are that this could soon be increased to 3, if the upward trajectory continues.

“It’s not getting special treatment,” Mr Varadkar told the Dermot and Dave show.

“A decision will have to be made in the next (number of) days or week…”

The minister explained Dublin cases are spread much further than was the case in Kildare, Offaly and Laois.

But he warned any move to more restrictions, could lead to severe consequences for the capital’s economy.

And he added that it was possible” that regions of Dublin could be restricted, rather than the entire county, though this would be harder to do.

“Looking at Dublin, it’s high all over,” he said. “There’s only one area where it’s low. The area from Blackrock to the coast along Bray. That would be the only area you could consider excluding.”

The tánaiste said: “We are trying to continue to suppress the virus to manageable levels and reopen schools... so it is more complicated.”

Every household will get information on the roadmap plan through their doors, he said, to help the country understand what’s expected for the next six to nine months.

“Only meet up with one other household in Dublin,” Mr Varadkar said, stating this was including when attending a pub or restaurant.

“The plus side is people will be able to watch matches this weekend but on the downside (Wet) pubs won’t open on Monday.

“We really need to restrict social contact, so don’t meet up with more than one household.”

On a lighter note, Mr Varadkar said he would be partying if a vaccine was to be introduced within the coming months.

“I tell you if things go back to normal next year, I’m going to go to every single festival…

“Steal my Sunshine by Len would be my throwback... I had plans for Dua Lipa but I doubt she’s coming.”

Online Editors