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“Don’t pour your common sense down the drain” | Health Minister Robin Swann

Don’t lose your common sense when socialising this weekend, Health Minister Robin Swann has urged. The Minister’s appeal comes ahead of Northern Ireland pubs, restaurants and cafés re-opening on 3 July.

“This is an important date for many local businesses and I am sure many people are looking forward to socialising with friends.” Mr Swann stated.

“I am not out to spoil anyone’s enjoyment. However, I have to remind everyone once again that the threat from Covid-19 is still very much with us.

“We are all familiar with the phrase ‘when the drink’s in, the wits out’. I hope and trust this will not be the case in Northern Ireland. Please drink and act responsibly and be sensible at all times.

“Keep sticking to the basics: keep your distance from each other and keep washing your hands. Be aware that alcohol can affect your judgement and alter your behaviour.

“Also, when we meet up with friends, a handshake or a hug is a very natural instinct. We have to fight that instinct for the sake of ourselves and others.”

“By all means enjoy yourselves, but don’t pour your common sense down the drain.”

Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride said: “Public health advice on alcohol consumption has never been more important.

“It is estimated that alcohol misuse costs up to £900 million every year, and that almost £250 million of these costs are borne by the Health and Social Care Sector.

“Restrictions have been eased on a number of fronts as a result of the progress we have made in the battle against Covid-19. We must not put that progress at risk.

“Responsible socialising means remaining vigilant about the virus and continuing to follow the public health advice.

“Irresponsible drinking can add to the pressures on hospital Emergency Departments and other public services. It can put you and others at risk.”

More advice on drinking responsibly can be found at: pgj.cc/2mqycx