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An Taoiseach Micheál Martin addressing the nation from the steps of Government Building in Dublin, Source: MerrionStreet on Facebook

Ireland to lift most Covid-19 restrictions from 22 October

Ireland to lift most Covid-19 restrictions from 22 October

The country’s high vaccination coverage accounts for the new approach to management of the pandemic

In just over 50 days, from October 22, Ireland will lift the majority of Covid-19 restrictions on society and the economy under an updated roadmap to recovery. An Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Micheál Martin confirmed this in an emotional address to the nation on Tuesday evening.

Interim period

The next phase of Ireland’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic is officially called COVID-19: Reframing the Challenge, Continuing Our Recovery & Reconnecting. This phase will see the majority of restrictions lifted and replaced by guidance and advice.

The Government has agreed that during the interim period between 1 September and 22 October the careful and gradual approach to reopening will be maintained.

88 percent of population fully vaccinated

The change to Ireland’s approach to the management of the pandemic is thanks to the hard work of the Irish people and the progress of the country’s vaccination programme, states a MerrionStreet press release.

Over 88 percent of the Irish population over 18 are fully vaccinated, with almost 92 percent of adults (aged 18 and older) having received at least one dose. Should the vaccine rollout continue at this pace, the next phase of reopening can commence on 22 October and is likely to last until at least next spring. 

Relaxation schedule

The phasing-out of restrictions will proceed according to this schedule.

September:

  • From 1 September, public transport returns to 100 percent capacity;
  • From 6 September, restrictions on organised indoor and outdoor events / mass gatherings will be eased. From that date, theatre, music and live events can take place for vaccinated or recovered people at 60 percent capacity indoors and 75 percent capacity outdoors. Weddings will see no change to the current limits (100 guests) during September, but live music will be permitted. Religious ceremonies can go ahead with 50 percent of venue capacity, regardless of the immunity status of supplicants. Coach tours can resume at 50 percent capacity with protective measures in place;
  • From 20 September, restrictions on outdoor group activities will be removed. Organised indoor group activities (sports, arts, culture, dance classes etc) will be capped at 100 people where all participants are immune (vaccinated or recovered). Where patrons have mixed immunity status, they can participate in pods of up to 6 (excluding adult leaders/teachers), with distancing between pods;
  • From 20 September, return to the workplace for specific businesses may commence on a phased and staggered attendance basis. 

From 22 October, the following restrictions will be lifted:

  • Physical distancing requirement;
  • Mask wearing obligation outdoors and in indoor private settings;
  • Limits on numbers at indoor and outdoor events and activities;
  • Restrictions on religious or civil ceremonies;
  • Limits on people numbers meeting in private homes/gardens;
  • Certification of vaccination, immunity or testing as a prerequisite for access to, or engagement in, any activities or events (except international travel);
  • Restrictions on high-risk activities (i.e. nightclubs). Ahead of the reopening of nightclubs, there will be a trial nightclub event in September.

Measures that will continue to remain in place after 22 October include self-isolation in case of Covid symptoms, and mask wearing in healthcare settings, indoor retail and on public transport.

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