And so we will live with the tightest crowd restrictions for another three weeks at least. That was the decision of the Government last night after listening to strong advice from NPHET.
There was a sound basis for optimism that the advanced plans which sporting organisations had put in place for social distancing withing grounds might have swayed the argument.
The fact that outdoor activity carries only five per cent of the risk of indoor gatherings was another reason for hope.
Ultimately though this has to be a public health call and it appears to have been public behaviours in getting to and from events that was the ultimate reason for tripping up on the way to larger crowds of 500.
When the acting Chief Medical Officer talks of multiple instances being reported of larger groups travelling together in single cars to training and games you know he is not just making it up.
The pressure even on underage teams to offer lifts to training and games has been growing steadily as more normal activity in the outside world takes hold. Sitting together in a car though for half an hour carries obvious risk and if they were advised of multiple instances, then we can only imagine that the actual number was higher.
Increasing the size of the crowd increases the temptation and while we may collectively feel hard done by, it is the collective behaviour of all of us that determines when we can eventually move to phase four and beyond.
The GAA Club Championship would have potentially drawn thousands around the country in this three week period but streaming is filling the bill in places and twitter and social media is keeping us connected as well. It’s not ideal but neither is a dose of a global pandemic.
In terms of Inter-County games, the numbers rise substantially, but they are still nine weeks away and a lot can change in that time if there is a collective will and we can avoid the actions of a few spoiling things for the many.
As the slogan goes, it’s in our hands now to bring the changes forward. It will not be from August 10th but the new horizon is August 31st and that’s where we need to be looking.
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