Retail is not a hotbed of infection, so why not let shops reopen?

Caveat: Policymakers still don’t seem to know which restrictions combat virus rates

Christmas shopping past: Grafton Street in 2017. Reopening  shops would take tens of thousands off the pandemic unemployment payment. Photograph: Tom Honan

Christmas shopping past: Grafton Street in 2017. Reopening shops would take tens of thousands off the pandemic unemployment payment. Photograph: Tom Honan

The people of Ireland are, for the second time, successfully driving down what were rampant coronavirus infection rates. But an underlying failure of the State’s response is that we still have no clear idea of precisely how that suppression is being achieved. Which specific restrictions among the mélange that are being implemented are most effective?

This basic knowledge gap will hobble any future attempts to reopen the economy, and its negative effects are being most acutely felt in retail. The world and its dog know that traditional retailing activity is not a significant source of coronavirus transmission. Certainly not enough to shut it down.

The Irish Times
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