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'The home is their place of work' - plumbers and decorators among those who can still work under new public health restrictions

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Minister Harris said there was a need for common sense such as keeping a room ventilated during a visit(Stock image)

Minister Harris said there was a need for common sense such as keeping a room ventilated during a visit(Stock image)

Minister Harris said there was a need for common sense such as keeping a room ventilated during a visit(Stock image)

Plumbers, decorators and others who come to the home to work can still do so under the new public health restrictions.

A ban on household visits coming into effect from midnight does not apply to people coming in to work in the home, Minister Simon Harris said today.

“The home is their place of work”, he said, although adding that there was a need for common sense such as keeping the room ventilated and not serving them a cup of tea.

What the ban on household visits meant was situations such as people not sitting down to a cup of coffee together in house, he said.

“The virus spreads when we visit each others' homes, we can tend to let down our guard and we can feel there is no risk to each other.

“We don’t want people to feel isolated or lonely - but when we gather for the cup of coffee between now and November 10, we must to try to cut out meeting up in people’s houses, except for caring for children or providing care for an elderly person.

Mr Harris said the home had become a "dangerous place", pointing out that in the two weeks to October 10, of the 4,000 outbreaks, 3,000 were in private households.

The minister said there was also a need to get back to working from home, and “business must show leadership” in that regard.

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The wearing of face masks was the third key measure that needed compliance , he said.

Mr Harris referred to scenes at an anti-mask protest outside the courts in Dublin yesterday as “disgusting, grotesque and obscene” and said he was “very concerned about the emergence of a far right”. While the numbers involved may be small “these things start with small numbers.”

Mr Harris, who is Minister for Further and Higher Education, also addressed the issue of students studying away from home, and the frequency with which they should return home.

Again, he said, common sense was needed. I don’t want to see students going into accommodation and being told "you must not move".

He said people could travel to college and, by virtue of that, they could travel home again, but there might be a case for staying in college for a "few weeks at a time".

On a choice between living in the college environment or living at home he said “there is no one size fits all”. Some students might opt to take student accommodation because their home was crowded, and others might prefer to stay at home, he added

Mr Harris and Junior Minister Niall Collins were at an event outlining details of new skills package being rolled out as part of Budget 2021, which includes:

  • 50,000 places for upskilling and reskilling opportunities – an increase of 10,000 places
  • expansion of retrofitting skills programmes to support the national retrofitting programme
  • new climate action upskilling scheme for businesses
  • extension of the €3,000 a head Apprenticeship Incentivisation Scheme for employers

Mr Harris also referred to the €50m special Covid assistance fund, which will be shared among full time higher education students at the rate of €250 a head and said the details would be announced next week.

Visit our Covid-19 vaccine dashboard for updates on the roll out of the vaccination program and the rate of Coronavirus cases Ireland


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