Government announcement: Most public health measures currently in place can be removed – 21st Jan 2022
Following public health advice, the government today (21st Jan 2022) agreed that most of the public health measures currently in place can be removed.
The efforts of the Irish people over recent weeks to reduce social contacts, and take care when they did meet others, combined with the high uptake of the vaccination and booster programme, has made a considerable difference to the public health situation.
From 6am on Saturday 22 January, the following restrictions will be removed:
- guidance in relation to household visiting
- early closing time for hospitality and events
- capacity restrictions for outdoor events, including sporting fixtures
- capacity restrictions for indoor events, including weddings
- sectoral protective measures
- restrictions on nightclubs
- requirements to have a valid Digital COVID Certificate to enter various premises
From Monday 24 January, a return to physical attendance in workplaces can commence on a phased basis appropriate to each sector.
A number of public health measures will remain in place until 28 February 2022:
- requirements for mask wearing in all settings where currently regulated for
- protective measures in schools and early learning and care facilities
In addition, the government reiterated the need for ongoing close monitoring of the virus.
The pandemic is not over and the emergence of new variants with increased levels of transmissibility, immune escape and/or virulence remains a risk both nationally and globally, particularly in the context of continued high levels of infection and variance in vaccine supply and uptake globally.
The ongoing strategy must include:
- continuing to follow the current advice for those with symptoms, cases and close contacts as announced by the government on 12 January 2022
- continued focus on maximising the uptake of the primary and booster vaccination
- the reduced levels of Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS), due to commence on 1 February, will be delayed by a month for businesses that were directly impacted by the public health restrictions introduced in December 2021
- a restart payment of 1 week’s support will be paid to Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) recipients to assist reopening
- the tax debt warehousing scheme to provide liquidity support to businesses will be extended by a month to 30 April 2022
- fees for special exemption orders for late licences will continue to be waived until 30 April
- the PUP will close for new applications from 22 January. Anyone remaining on PUP will move to a weekly rate of €208 with effect from payments made on 8 March. After that, remaining PUP recipients will start transitioning to standard jobseeker terms, and if eligible, will move onto a jobseekers payment with effect from payments on 5 April
- Enhanced Illness Benefit will be extended until the end of June 2022
- if you have any symptoms – isolate and get a test. If you are a close contact follow the guidance on the HSE website
- the best way to keep yourself safe is to ensure you are fully vaccinated and have your booster
- continue to wear masks in appropriate settings
Individuals may still have concerns about themselves or their family members. They should continue to assess their individual situation. There are ways to reduce risk, especially for those who may be more vulnerable. For further guidance go to the Risk Aware site.
Measures being removed
Sectoral protective measures being removed include:
- formal requirements for physical distancing in general (2m)
- physical distancing requirements in hospitality (table service, 1 metre between tables, 6 per table)
- seated only at indoor events
- pods of 6 for indoor activities
- COVID pass requirement across all domestic venues/activities
- requirement to maintain contact details
Mask wearing will still be required in the following settings:
- public transport, taxis and at stations/airports/ports
- retail premises (including shopping centres, libraries, cinemas, theatres, museums, post offices, banks), public offices and at premises providing specified services and businesses (incl. salons, hairdressers, travel agents, laundries, dry cleaners, bookmakers)
- customer facing roles in premises where food and beverages are sold for consumption on the premises
There is no change to the current measures in place regarding international travel, including the requirement for a Digital COVID Certificate. See gov.ie/travel for more details.
From 1 February, for travel purposes, a DCC based on primary vaccination only will expire after 270 days (9 months). An updated DCC can be obtained for those who have received a booster dose. Updated DCCs are currently being issued.
Anyone who has not received an updated DCC can request one through the self-service portal.