The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) is to meet later today, ahead of the predecided July 20 reopening date for pubs, bars and restaurants.
While Phase Four of the government's COVID-19 reopening scheme was planned for next Monday, acting chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn said it was “too early” to say that the final phase would go ahead as planned.
According to Glynn, the five-day average of cases is now 20, higher than it has been in several weeks, meaning that other considerations may have to be made.
“In the first instance, we’re looking every day at the increasing cases," he said.
"We’re looking at the profile of those cases, can we say where they’re coming from? We’re looking at the reproductive number and as we said last week, that appears to have gone at least to 1 if not above one.
"Thankfully our hospitals and critical care units are very stable and at very low levels. As I said, we’re monitoring very closely we’ll continue to do so through this week."
The reproductive rate, or 'R number', indicates the number of people on average that an infected person will pass the virus on to.
Ireland's COVID-19 reproduction rate has risen in recent weeks as lockdown restrictions loosened, leading public health officials to believe that social distancing guidelines are being flouted.
Glynn followed by saying that there was a grown concern among health officials about the increase in cases and that it was “too early” to say whether Phase Four would go ahead.
Under the final phase of reopening planned for 20 July, pubs that don’t serve food can reopen and gatherings of 100 people indoors and 500 outdoors will be permissible.
Ahead of that date, some pubs have complained that they are not being given enough information about what is expected of them.
1 week from our proposed reopening, the operational guidelines are yet to be released. It is extremely disheartening to see how pubs have been treated in this regard. As a result, we're sorry to announce we must postpone our reopening until 27th July at the earliest. Sorry folks. https://t.co/Km57f7bWB3— Grogans Castle Lounge (@GrogansPub) July 13, 2020
Among them is popular city centre par Grogans, who took to Twitter to announce that they are postponing their reopening to July 27 due to a lack of operational guidelines.
“If public health grounds dictate that it is not safe for us to open just yet, we completely understand and accept that, but the very least that should be expected is that we’re given fair notice if this is the case,” the post read.