The national roadmap out of the coronavirus lockdown will need a lot more detailed signposting and guidance if it is to ensure there is no clash with public health rules and that it's workable.
1. What is an unnecessary journey? From May 18, which is phase one of the exit plan, it is envisaged that golf courses, beaches and mountain walks will reopen. However, the advice currently is still to avoid unnecessary journeys and stay within 5km for exercise or shopping. There is no mention of extending this from May 18 so how essential will a game of golf be? And will the course have to be within 5km?
2. From phase three, starting on July 20, team sports such as soccer and GAA will be allowed to return but with limitations placed on spectators. Given these are contact sports where physical distancing would not work, how are they going to ensure they are not a source for spreading the virus on the field? It runs contrary to current advice on keeping two metres apart. Will they be asked to wear masks and will testing be offered?
3. From June 29 there will be restrictions placed on the numbers of people travelling to and in major urban centres on weekdays and weekends.
So city centres cannot become crowded, but what kind of counting exercise could reasonably police this?
How could it be possible to monitor people walking, on buses, trains or in cars? Would it not make more sense to have a presence on the ground and on shops to monitor physical distancing?
4. From phase two on June 8, the over-70s and other vulnerable groups are to be advised they can go shopping at designated hours. They should be wearing a face covering and gloves.
However, Professor Martin Cormican, the Galway microbiologist who provides guidance to the HSE on infection control, came down against wearing gloves in shops. If there are bugs on your gloves those bugs often end up on your hands when you take the gloves off and can very easily end up in your mouth, nose and eyes. It's much better to clean your hands regularly and properly. Even in special settings, such as hospitals where gloves are valuable, there is still a need to perform hand hygiene when the gloves come off.
5. From phase two on June 8, it is proposed that up to four people be permitted to visit another household for a short period. How long can the visit last? Will it be confined to five minutes? Will physical distancing have to be observed within the house and can two people share a small sofa?
6. Masks and face coverings - there is still no proper official guidance on either. The official view up to now was the jury's still out on their use.
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