Reopening decision: Protective measures to remain in place; no limits for wedding numbers

In hospitality venues table service only is to remain in place. 
Reopening decision: Protective measures to remain in place; no limits for wedding numbers

Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed that religious services and weddings can proceed as planned without capacity limits. 

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has announced that sectors due to reopen on October 22 may only do so on the basis that all customers show proof of vaccination and identity.

It comes following the Government's consideration of the latest advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) as the number of new infections, the number of people requiring hospitalisation and the number of patients in ICU have all increased.

Mr Martin said that the relevant public health statistics “tell us a story that we need to listen to” and that the increasing figures are “a cause of concern”.

“They’re also a timely reminder of how dangerous this virus remains and the need for ongoing vigilance as we work to protect the very significant progress that we have made together as a nation,” he said.

Proof of vaccination and identity required 

Assuring that the progress made to date remains in place, he confirmed that all sectors that have reopened will remain open but that those sectors due to open on October 22 may only do so on the basis that all customers showing proof of vaccination and identity.

“On this issue, I want to give a very clear message. 

"The vaccination programme and the use of Covid passes is how we have been able to open the hospitality sector so far to stay open, we need everyone to enforce and respect the rules.

An Taoiseach Micheal Martin TD arrives for a government cabinet meeting at Dublin Castle. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
An Taoiseach Micheal Martin TD arrives for a government cabinet meeting at Dublin Castle. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

“In hospitality venues, table service only should remain in place with max 10 adults per table and max of 15 including children. Covid passes and fixed capacity limits will not apply for outdoor events, however, sectors would ensure appropriate protective measures are in place.

Fixed capacity will no longer apply for indoor and outdoor group activities, however, protective measures must be put in place and where groups are mixed indoors, pods of six should apply.

No limits at weddings 

Mr Martin confirmed that religious services and weddings can proceed as planned without capacity limits but will have all other protective measures in place and that return to the workplace will continue on a phased and cautious basis.

He also welcomed the recommendation made to the Government on Monday night from the National Immunisation Advisory Council (NIAC) that vaccine booster shots can be administered to everyone over 60.

“This process is welcome and will commence immediately,” he said.

Antigen testing 

Mr Martin said that an enhanced role of antigen testing throughout society has also been agreed on and that tests will now be sent to fully vaccinated close contacts of confirmed cases and that Government will work with the sectors to develop a role for antigen tests to further improve the safety of events and activities and work with the expert group in antigen testing in terms of the wider use of such tests amongst the general population.

He said that the progress made is real, tangible and has to be protected and that the changes made to the plan “gives us the space to make sure that the next steps toward normality are safe and sustainable”.

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