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Emergency powers linked to indoor dining extended to January, but Govt says no plans to use them

Provisions in the Health Amendment Act are due to expire on 9 October.

Customer Jimmy Nooks getting a pint of Guinness from bar staff Becky Roche who in PJ Slattery's pub Dublin.
Customer Jimmy Nooks getting a pint of Guinness from bar staff Becky Roche who in PJ Slattery's pub Dublin.
Image: rollingnews.ie

CABINET HAS AGREED to extend the emergency provisions that allow for indoor hospitality to reopen under certain conditions, such as with the use of the Covid pass, until 9 January 2022. 

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly today sought approval to extend the provisions in the Health Amendment Act as it was due to expire on 9 October. 

Government is keen to stress it remains the plan that all restrictions relating to the requirement for certification of vaccination, immunity or testing before entering a pub or restaurant, and other indoor activities, will be lifted on 22 October

It is understood that the extension, which effectively gives the minister the power to re-impose the regulations, is “precautionary”. 

The Act was scheduled to fall prior to 22 October, when restrictions are set to be lifted.

Due to the legislation setting out that only one extension can be made under the Act, it was decided to push the date out to January. 

It is understood that the Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan has briefed government that Ireland is on course to lift all restrictions, other than face-masks wearing in some environments, on 22 October.

However, sources state that government was also briefed that “winter is coming” and it is best to have the powers in “reserve” should they need to be used. 

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Government sources state that while all is going well, Covid can be unpredictable, and can tear up the best laid plans.

However, it was stressed that there is no reason to think that there will be a change to the 22 October date and the government has “no plans to use it [the emergency powers] past next month.

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