LEO VARADKAR has warned that more localised lockdowns in Ireland could happen.
On Friday it was announced that the counties of Kildare, Offaly and Laois would be locking back down for two weeks after a surge in coronavirus cases.
Residents are being encouraged only to travel if it is absolutely essential, while people are not discouraged from entering or leaving the affected counties for the two-week period.
Localised lockdowns may not stop there, according to the Tanaiste, as he warned that the government won't hesitate to restrict other counties if similar trends in Covid-19 cases are identified.
On Monday, Mr Varadkar met with business owners who had been affected by the new lockdown measures and warned them that such rules could be repeated across the country as the pandemic continues.
Allan Shine, CEO of the County Kildare Chamber, explained that business owners in Kildare, Offaly and Laois feel like guinea pigs who are being tested to see whether or not further lockdowns across the country would be successful or not.
Speaking to Today FM on Monday, he lamented that over 1,000 jobs in Kildare will be lost over the two-week period.
"[Business owners] considers ourselves to be a test for further lockdowns and no doubt there will be further lockdowns and they won't just be in Kildare, Laois and Offaly," Shine said.
"There will be further lockdowns and the Tanaiste said that this evening in the meeting that this will not be the last.
"We feel like we are very much a test because the enforcements that were put in place in Kildare, Laois and Offaly are draconian.
"We estimate that there will be 1,200 jobs lost in Kildare by this," he added.