The Taoiseach has confirmed that nightclubs will reopen from Friday as planned – but vaccine certs are a prerequisite to gain entry.
Clubs will reopen at full capacity, albeit with restrictions – including the use of vaccine passes, the collection of contact tracing details and the wearing of masks, “except when eating, drinking and dancing.”
Micheál Martin also noted that the rollout of COVID vaccine boosters to everyone over the age of 60 will commence immediately.
Asked whether there would be any need for social distancing, he said sector-specific guidance will be published in the coming days.
“The key overall point that NPHET is making – that we agree with – is that the protective measures have to involve masks, physical distancing and ventilation mitigation measures.
“Now that is where appropriate. It is the appropriate use of all of these, is how NPHET terms it in the letter to Government. Obviously, there are practicalities involved in different sectors and those have to be worked out, as we have done in the past, through sectoral guidance.”
Pub and restaurant opening hours will return to normal; however, they will remain at table service only with limits of ten people per table and 15 when children are involved.
Vaccine certs will still be needed unless people are seated outdoors, where capacity limits will also not apply.
Audiences will have to be fully seated at all indoor music, theatre and sporting events – although people will be permitted to stand at their seats.
The limits on numbers attending weddings and religious services are also being lifted; however, “all other protective measures” are remaining in place.
Capacity limits on indoor and outdoor group activities are also being lifted; however, where unvaccinated people are involved, groups must be limited to pods of six people.
Meanwhile, the return to work will continue “on a phased and cautious basis.”
Mr Martin also noted that the rollout of COVID vaccine boosters to everyone over the age of 60 will commence immediately.
“The message I want to leave with you today is very clear and can be summarised with three key requests,” he said.
“If you are indoors with other people, wear a mask.
“If you are running a business or any sort of event that is bringing people indoors, you must check for proof of vaccination and enforce the rules.
“Crucially, if you have not been vaccinated or if you have not yet had your second vaccination, please make arrangements to get fully vaccinated.”