Reopening of pubs, restaurants, group exercise, events indoors delayed in Republic of Ireland due to Delta variant concerns
Indoor hospitality and group activities and events in Donegal and across the Republic will now not reopen next week due to concerns over the Delta variant.
Pubs restaurants and other venues had been hoping to welcome back patrons on Monday, July 5 but this has now been pushed back for at least a fortnight.
Indoor activities, such as organised events, group training, exercise and dance will also not yet proceed, pending the implementation of a system to verify vaccination or immunity.
The government said it will now devise an implementation plan by 19 July, following further consideration and consultation with relevant sectors.
As an exception, weddings already planned will be permitted to proceed on the basis of the expected changes, with 50 guests permitted to attend wedding receptions with protective measures.
In terms of outdoor events however, as planned, numbers for organised events can increase to 200, or 500 for stadia or venues with a capacity of over 5,000.
Also from July 5 there will be no limit on number of people who can visit together if they are all fully protected by vaccination or have recovered from COVID-19 infection in the previous 9 months.
Under the revised guidance outlined today, from July 19 and subject to the public health situation at the time, Ireland will operate the EU Digital COVID Certificate (DCC) for travel originating within the EU/EEA.
Until then however the government advice on international travel remains to avoid non-essential travel, and related penalties will remain in place until 18 July. As and from 19 July this will be changed to advise citizens to travel safely and in accordance with public health guidance and restrictions.
In a statement the Irish government said: “Thanks to the extraordinary efforts and support of the Irish people we are progressing though the recovery, with the reopening measures for June now complete and the virus situation remaining broadly stable.
“The vaccination programme continues to make significant progress with over 4 million doses of the vaccine now administered and over 40% of the population now fully vaccinated.
“The Economic Recovery Plan is supporting the recovery, with measures and supports to help people get back to work.
“The government continues to follow its plan to review and monitor the control of the virus and follow the prevailing public health advice in support of a safe and gradual reopening.
“Today’s decision is based on advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), that the incidence of the Delta variant in Ireland, which poses a significant risk, particularly to those who are not yet fully vaccinated is rapidly increasing. For this reason, a cautious approach is maintained, with an emphasis on lower risk activities.”
People are also being told they should continue to work from home unless necessary to attend in person.
The government also noted revised advice from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) that the dose interval for the AstraZeneca vaccine should be reduced to four weeks and that those aged 18-49 years who wish to opt for earlier vaccination can be offered either the AstraZeneca or the Jannsen vaccine, subject to consent. As with previous advice, this will be reviewed from a planning, operational and clinical perspective in the coming days.