Senator John Le Fondré spoke during a press conference tonight and also confirmed that close-contact services such as hairdressers and nail bars were on track to reopen on 10 February.
Retailers had initially been due to open their doors last Wednesday for the first time since Christmas Eve but had their plans curtailed following an alleged bout of ‘bad behaviour’ by a small number of supply chain staff who supposedly continued to work despite being symptomatic.
They were also accused of not wearing masks while working and a full investigation – led by the Health and Safety Inspectorate – has been launched. The company allegedly involved has not been named.
A small cluster of cases was identified as a result of the alleged breach. However, fears that a larger outbreak could occur did not materialise.
Speaking on Monday evening [1 February], after active cases fell below 100 for the first time since 6 November, Senator Le Fondré, said: ‘It is clear that the measures we took before Christmas were necessary and have worked. Now that we are seeing a reduction in positive cases, and importantly a sustained reduction in the number of hospital patients with Covid-19, we have weighed up expert advice alongside the potential impact of the proposed measures on the community and have decided that we can now move to stage two of our reconnection plan.
‘We will look again, in three weeks’ time, at the options for further reconnection including the easing of working from home measures and the re-opening of some hospitality services.’