An Taoiseach Micheál Martin has announced the further easing of Covid-19 restrictions this evening at Government Buildings.
Mr. Martin says the “combined strategy of careful reopening and energetic vaccination has brought us to a point where we can begin to do things differently.”
The Taoiseach said Ireland has paid a “terrible price” during the pandemic – in both deaths and the inability to attend funerals and mourn loved ones.
Micheál Martin said “the number one priority (during the pandemic) had been the protection of lives and public health“.
He accepted that restrictions had a significant impact on people “Your effort and your sacrifice has saved lives” he added.
Therfore to that end, Mr Martin said that, from the 6th of September, indoor venues can operate at 60% capacity for events for those who are vaccinated, while outdoor events can operate at 75% capacity for those who are vaccinated.
As part of his delivery he added that restrictions on indoor and outdoor group activities involving sports, arts, culture and dance classes would be lifted from the 20th of September.
The Taoiseach said the high vaccine uptake in Ireland means “we were entering a whole new phase of the pandemic“.
Close to 90% of all citizens over 18 are fully vaccinated, according to Mr Martin with the vaccine programme rolled out “on a scale never seen before“.
The rate of uptake and the programme is “the envy of much of the world“, he said.
Mr Martin also said the explosion of what was called the UK variant and the emergence of the Delta variant this year were particularly challenging “but we persisted“.
100% capacity returns to Public Transport
Masks will continue to be required in the health and retail sectors and on public transport.
Communions and conformations can return
Larger crowds can gather for religious ceremonies – 50% capacity
Increased crowd numbers allowed at outdoor sports events
Indoor venues – 60% capacity for those vaccinated and 75% at outdoor locations for those fully vaccinated.
Live music at weddings and bars
Return to office working to begin on phased basis
Indoor sports, exercise classes, after school activity, choirs, bingo halls, bowling alleys, community activities can resume
All remaining Covid-19 restrictions will be lifted on October 22.
However this is dependant on a number of factors, including the numbers in hospitals and 90pc of all over 16 year olds being vaccinated.
Strict COVID guidelines and regulations will be replaced with “personal responsibility”
Digital Covid Certificates will only be needed for international travel and will not be needed to enter a bar or restaurant
Masks will not be required outdoors and in private settings