Updated reopening plan announced

Increasing COVID numbers have led to concern.

The Cabinet has approved the reopening of more sectors of the economy and the lifting of restrictions on the number of people attending certain events.

However, measures to prevent the spread of COVID will remain.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin made the announcement this lunchtime after the weekly Cabinet meeting where Ministers agreed the changes.

The decision was made after concerns over the increase in the number of people being admitted to hospital with COVID-19 in recent weeks.

This Friday (October 22) was due to see an end to the requirement for social distancing and mask wearing outdoors, or indoor in private settings.

NPHET had advised that existing restrictions on hospitality should stay in place until around spring 2022.

The Government's revised reopening plan includes the return of normal trading hours in bars and restaurants but with table service only. A maximum of ten adults will be permitted at a table.

Nightclubs, restaurants and bars will only be open to those with a digital COVID certificate.

From October 22:

In line with public health advice, the remaining aspects of the hospitality, entertainment and night-time economy sector can reopen only with the full range of protective measures in place and the wide and robust implementation of the COVID-19 pass. The further easing of restrictions planned for 22nd October can proceed with the extension of some non-pharmaceutical interventions including use of COVID-19 pass (as set out below) in light of the high level of disease in the community at this point in time and the uncertain trajectory of the disease.

Protective measures include:

Requirement for COVID-19 pass (vaccine or recovery certificate) for indoor hospitality and events;

Social distancing;

Face masks (can be removed for consumption of food or alcohol as appropriate);

Table service only in hospitality settings (max of 10 adults per table, and max 15 including children);

Collection of contact tracing data;

For indoor live music, drama, live entertainment and sporting events audience/spectators should be fully seated (standing permitted at your seat);

Specific sectoral guidance will be developed for nightclubs setting out appropriate protective measures. This will involve COVID-19 passes, contact tracing data collection and wearing of facemasks except when eating, drinking and dancing;

COVID-19 passes and fixed capacity limits will not apply for outdoor events. However, sectors should ensure appropriate protective measures are in place;

Organisers of indoor and outdoor group activities should ensure that appropriate protective measures are in place, and where indoor groups have a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated people indoors, pods of 6 should apply. Fixed capacity limits will not apply to these indoor and outdoor group activities;

Religious services and weddings can proceed without capacity limits but with all other protective measures remaining in place; and

Return to workplaces will continue on a phased and cautious basis for specific business requirements.