Ministers have pushed for the 2m social distancing rule to be eased as the government considers lifting more Covid-19 restrictions.

t a Cabinet meeting, ministers suggested Ireland should follow other European countries in reducing the strict social distancing rule to 1m.

The move would have significant implications for businesses seeking to reopen and also allow schools have more students in classrooms when they return.

The 2m social distancing rule is based on the spread of droplets that could contain the coronavirus.

It was noted at the Cabinet meeting that the World Health Organisation (WHO) advises 1m rather than 2m.

However, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control suggests the further distance is the best advice.

Sources said Disability Minister Finian McGrath and Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor raised the issue at the cabinet meeting.

After the meeting, two other Cabinet ministers also said the reducing the distance should be consider to make it easier for businesses and schools to reopen.

“If you had a metre between each desk in a school or tables in a restaurant that would make a big difference,” a Senior minister said.

“It’s not one for today or tomorrow but it could become a big issue in a few weeks time,” the source added.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told ministers he will organise a meeting with Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan where they can raise their concerns about public health advice.

Labour Party leader Alan Kelly said it would “make life much easier for society and businesses” if the social distancing rule was reduced to 1m.

“After the complete confusion over the bonkers 2 hour rule this week we now need a clear explanation from the Government on why we are specifically using the 2 metre rule and if the WHO is recommending that distance, otherwise it would make life much easier for society and businesses if we, like the rest of the EU, were using the one meter rule, if that was possible,” he said.

Online Editors

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