A health expert says outdoor dining is still risky while Ireland’s case numbers remain high.
It comes as the restaurant industry pushes to reopen following new data showing a tiny risk of Covid transmission in the open air.
The Irish Times reported yesterday that just 0.1% of Ireland’s Covid cases since the start of the pandemic have been linked to outdoor transmission. (More on that here).
Restaurants say this shows outdoor dining should be allowed to resume immediately.
But DCU professor of health systems Anthony Staines says Ireland’s contact tracing system hasn’t gone back far enough to properly find the source of outbreaks.
And he says this means there are still question marks, noting “Most people in Ireland have been giving public health advice based on data from other countries because our data wasn’t good enough so the data from other countries says pretty much the same thing but you’re much more likely to get indoor infections”.
Restaurants Association CEO Adrian Cummins says officials must establish if the data is correct saying “We are calling on government now to immediately to reopen outdoor dining based on this data, I think NPHET are going to have to come out and make a statement on it, is this data correct or is it not and if it’s not correct well then we’re in a different space altogether”.
While NPHET has consistently warned there are still risks, it has also said outdoor activities are much safer than indoor ones.
The topic was also touched on on KCLR LIve earlier today when Eimear Ní Bhraonáin was in conversation with Minister of State Damien English – listen back to that here: