Controversy erupted on Wednesday when it was revealed that Leo Varadkar was attending a 50-person outdoor event hosted by Katherine Zappone at the Merrion Hotel.
There was public turmoil as they assumed public health rules were violated.
The Fáilte Ireland guidelines for industry reopening are as follows: “Regulated events are not currently allowed.”
However, the Government later issued a statement requesting the Attorney General’s advice, saying the regulations stipulate organized outdoor activities and gatherings of up to 200 people, including social, recreational, exercise, cultural, recreational or community events.
The government’s own website for outdoor events states: “Most venues can accommodate up to 200 participants. There is a 500-person limit for venues with a capacity of more than 5,000 with appropriate protective measures, including social distancing requirements. ”
But while the event was legally permissible, was it in line with what public health officials have been saying in recent weeks?
On 30 May, Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan expressed shock at the “enormous crowd” of people gathered in Dublin city centre.
“We don’t need it when we’ve made this much progress,” he said on Twitter.
While restrictions on socializing and hospitality have since decreased significantly, the message of avoiding crowds and large gatherings has remained constant.
On 16 June, the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) issued recommendations to the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) on the safe return of mass gatherings.
His advice says: “First, any organized mass gathering should be seated in outdoor activities that are short in duration and significantly reduced in capacity. Small and manageable events should be tried before larger events.”
On 1 July, deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn said Nphet advised against continuing communion and confirmation due to potential spread, on the basis that families will socialize later.
Two weeks later, on July 16, HSE’s national testing and monitoring leader, Niamh O’Beirne, warned that the majority of cases came from outdoor social gatherings. “We see more of the outdoor environment. They are outside groups. “I hear from the audience about barbecues, outdoor group dinners, large outdoor gatherings of large groups, house parties,” he said.
“And then things we’ve seen before after funerals, weddings, family gatherings, and gym training.”
On July 21, the Midwest Department of Public Health urged the people of Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary to “avoid large, high-risk social gatherings as the immunization program continues to accelerate.”
On 28 July, head of the Irish Epidemiological Modeling Advisory Group, Prof. The short-term course of the disease remains unclear, Philip Nolan said, adding that “a lot depends on what we do to smooth out our level of social engagement.”
On July 30, public health medicine expert Dr Marie Casey said: “We want you to be alert, socialize safely and prioritize getting vaccinated this weekend.”