Eamon Ryan "cautiously optimistic" indoor pubs and restaurants will return on 5 July 1 month ago

Eamon Ryan "cautiously optimistic" indoor pubs and restaurants will return on 5 July

Despite criticism of the delay, it appears a decision on indoor hospitality will wait until the last minute.

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan has said he is "cautiously optimistic" that the country will be able to further ease Covid-19 restrictions on 5 July, despite concerns regarding the Delta variant of the virus.

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Subject to the public health situation at the time, 5 July is the date on which indoor services at pubs and restaurants can resume.

However, the emergence of the Delta variant of Covid-19 has led to fears that their reopening could be postponed.

Asked if there was a strong chance the variant would impact the country's easing of restrictions on 5 July, Ryan told Newstalk Breakfast: "We're going to have to wait.

"We'll have a Cabinet meeting next Thursday. That will be preceded by a meeting of NPHET on Wednesday. We'll get the latest advice. We're keeping a close eye on it, as we have right through this process.

"Two things remain constant, firstly the analysis that the vaccines do work against the Delta variant. That gives us some comfort.

"But secondly our numbers have stayed steady even with the Delta variant increasing."

Asked if this meant he was "cautiously optimistic" the easing of restrictions on 5 July would proceed as planned, Ryan responded: "I am but at the same time it is being cautious.

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"At all stages in this, that caution has been the appropriate approach. It has served us well.

"We will listen to the health advice next Wednesday and make the decisions on the Thursday."

On Wednesday, the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) called on the government to make a decision on the reopening of indoor hospitality this week.

It said the government cannot reasonably expect the entire hospitality industry to wait until 2 July for a decision and then be in a position to potentially reopen three days later.

The vintners' group also called on the government "to stop the mixed messaging", stating that there have been different views expressed on whether indoor service would return as planned on 5 July by the Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and the Health Minister Stephen Donnelly, as well as Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Minister of State for Business Damien English, in recent days.

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