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11th Nov 2021

Stephen Donnelly: Avoid staff Christmas party if you’re “doing a lot of other things”

Stephen Porzio

“The advice is not: ‘Don’t have any social contact’.”

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has shared his view regarding work Christmas parties this year, stating that they can go ahead so long as attendees have already cut their social contacts.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast following a recent rise in Covid-19 figures, the Minister – who advised the public to reduce their “discretionary social contacts” on Wednesday – was asked if office Christmas parties taking place this year were a “good idea”.

“I think it depends. I know that’s not a very simple answer,” Donnelly said.

“The advice is not: ‘Don’t have any social contact’. The advice right now is we have so much social contact that this disease is just rising far too quickly.

“So, what the Government is asking, what public health advice is, is to reduce your social contacts.

“That doesn’t mean not going to see Ronaldo tonight… It doesn’t mean not having your Christmas party.

“What it means in the round when you look at everything your doing, do the things that are most important to you and the more discretionary ones, just for now, just cut them out.

“For some people, the Christmas party might be the highlight of their year and for them, by all means go.

“For other people who are doing a lot of other things, they don’t really care about the Christmas party, that might be something that they choose not to do.”

His comments come as NPHET announced at a briefing on Wednesday that they are meeting on Thursday and are set to consider a possible return to a full work-from-home policy.

However, quizzed on this, Donnelly said the implementation of a full work-from-home policy is currently not under consideration by Government.

“I haven’t received any advice to that end. It’s not something that Government is actively considering at the moment,” he stated.

“I think at the press conference last night, the NPHET team were being asked about a lot of different hypotheticals and they were giving a view generally that given the case numbers right now they would prefer people to be opting for the safer option.”

Main image via Leah Farrell /