Words: Dylan Murphy
Due to high demand, the HSE’s contact tracing team has been told to work on “priority” areas. Music venues and nightclubs are not deemed “priority” and consequently they have not been not collecting information on potential close contacts of positive Covid-19 cases in either.
Following the news last week that nightclubs were to close and live music events would be reduced to 50 per cent capacity, the HSE revealed that the were not collecting contact tracing information from positive cases in either of those types of venues, the Independent reports. It comes in the aftermath of numerous cancellations of shows that could not operate under the current restrictions including Christy Moore’s Christmas shows.
The HSE noted that it told contact tracers to focus on “priority areas” including special education and nursing homes among others. Predictably, live music spaces and nightclubs are not considered “priority”.
Responding to a parliamentary question from Social Democrat TD Gary Gannon, the HSE said following their instructions, “we are not currently collating information on nightclubs and music venues”.
It comes after the HSE it “experienced an extremely high sustained demand” since the lifting of restrictions for the night life industry were loosened at the end of October.
Mr Gannon said it is “beyond a joke”.
“This is just another example of the government making it up as they go along. What was the point in all of those details being collected if there was never an intention that they be used for the purpose of contact tracing. The government owes this sector a massive apology,” he continued.
Elsewhere, in response to the de facto closing of the live industry, the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) will be restored at a top rate of €350.
Elsewhere on District: How Just Mustard’s noise woke up the world.