CONFIRMED: Nightclubs to reopen, weddings at full capacity and Covid Passes to remain
"The progress we have made over the last year is real, tangible and has to be protected."
Taoiseach Micheál Martin has confirmed all of the restrictions set to ease from this coming Friday, 22 October, and, perhaps more crucially at this point, the restrictions that will remain in place.
Normal opening hours are set to resume in pubs and restaurants, while nightclubs can proceed with reopening, albeit with certain restrictions attached.
Dancing will be permitted in nightclubs, though NPHET's advice is to maintain social distancing where possible.
Indoor entertainment events such as concerts, drama and sport should remain fully-seated, though people are allowed stand at their seat.
In hospitality venues, table service-only should remain in place, with a maximum of 10 adults per table and a maximum of 15 including children.
All customers must present vaccination certificates in order to receive entry.
Covid passes and capacity limits will not apply for outdoor events. However, sectors are asked to ensure that effective and appropriate measures are in place.
Fixed capacity will no longer apply for indoor and outdoor activities, though protective measures must be established.
Where groups are mixing indoors, pods of six should apply.
Religious services and weddings may proceed as planned without capacity limitations. As with the above, protective measures are expected to be adhered to.
The same applies for returning to workplaces, which is set to continue on a "phased and cautious" basis in line with specific business requirements.
Digital Covid Certificates will remain in place until spring of 2022, while face coverings and physical distancing will continue to be required in social settings.
Having become a fresh subject of debate in recent days, antigen tests will play an "enhanced role throughout society" with test kits sent out to fully vaccinated contacts of confirmed cases.
"In line with NPHET advice, those sectors due to reopen on the 22nd of October may now only do so on the basis that all customers must produce their proof of vaccination and identity," said the Taoiseach in his afternoon address on Tuesday.
"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."
"The progress we have made over the last year is real, tangible and has to be protected," said the Taoiseach.
The Taoiseach signed off his speech by making three key requests to the public:
- If you are indoors or with other people, wear a mask
- If you are a business owner, you must check for proof of vaccination and enforce the rules
- If you have received a single vaccination dose to date, please register for your second shot
"Unfortunately, we are going to have to get through another winter before we can say that this is behind us," noted Tánaiste Leo Varadkar. "We're not where we hoped to be," he added.
Varadkar offered his sympathies to sectors relying on a restriction-less full capacity reopening, noting that they will be "crestfallen" by the latest update.
The full list of official government health measures may be viewed here.
Featured Image via Leah Farrell