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At a glance: Everything you need to know about the summer re-opening plans

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that “now the challenge is to keep moving forward safely”.

Crowds in Merrion Square on a sunny day this spring.
Crowds in Merrion Square on a sunny day this spring.
Image: Rollingnews.ie

THE GOVERNMENT HAS confirmed the details of its plans for gradually reopening a number of sectors over the next few months.

The plans cover everything from pilot outdoor live events with hundreds of attendees in June, to the return of international travel and indoor dining in July.

The Taoiseach said Ireland is taking “definite steps towards normal times” and the challenge now is “to keep moving forward safely”. 

Let’s take a closer look at the measures set to take effect in the coming months.

Travel

The Taoiseach said the government wants to restore international travel in a “safe and sustainable way”. 

International travel will be permitted for non-essential reasons from 19 July

All EU countries will be removed from the mandatory hotel quarantine list at this point. 

file-photo-the-european-parliament-has-reached-a-deal-that-could-lead-the-way-to-a-covid-19-certificate-which-would-allow-vaccinated-eu-residents-to-travel-this-summer-end Source: Sam Boal

This is to facilitate the introduction of the Digital Green Certificate, or the EU’s Covid passport. 

This will allow those who are fully vaccinated, have produced a negative Covid test result from the previous 72 hours, or who have fully recovered from Covid to travel in the EU.

There will be no restrictions on travel between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

However due to concerns about the coronavirus variant that originated in India (B.1617), Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said that there will be restrictions on people travelling from Britain to Ireland. 

“There are real concerns about the prevalence of the Indian variant in Britain. It’s now the dominant variant of Britain. Over 50% of cases appear to be this B.1617 variant. That’s something we’re concerned about,” the Tánaiste said.

“For that reason, we’re not in the position to restore the Common Travel Area just yet.”

An emergency brake feature can be applied to EU countries if necessary, the Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said.

This will be applied to countries with emerging variants of concern or variants of interest. 

If applied to a country, the government will advise against travelling there. 

You can read more details on how the return of non-essential international travel will work here

Hospitality

file-photo-failte-ireland-is-expected-to-publish-guidelines-later-today-for-the-reopening-of-the-hospitality-industry-including-measures-for-indoor-and-outdoor-dining-end File image of people dining outdoors in Dublin last year. Source: Sasko Lazarov

From 2 June (next Wednesday), hotels, B&Bs and other accommodation services will reopen.

Outdoor services at pubs and restaurants have been signed off to return from 7 June. 

Indoor services in pubs and restaurants can return from 5 July.

Earlier this week, Fáilte Ireland announced its guidelines for the first phase of a partial reopening of hospitality, with plans drawing both support and criticism.

The Tánaiste said it doesn’t make sense to change the “anomaly” of hotels being permitted to serve food and drink indoors while indoor dining is banned elsewhere, for the month-long period of disparity. 

Events

shutterstock_295115348 Source: Shutterstock/Melinda Nagy

From 7 June, a maximum of 100 people can attend organised outdoor events in most venues.

Outdoor venues with a capacity of at least 5,000 can have up to 200 attendees from this date. 

This will increase to a maximum of 200 people for most venues from 5 July, and a maximum of 500 for outdoor venues with a capacity of at least 5,000. 

In August, the government will consider further increasing the numbers permitted at outdoor and indoor events. 

It was reported last night that this could result in up to 5,000 spectators attending outdoor events in large stadiums like Croke Park from August. 

A number of pilot outdoor live events will be held in the Phoenix Park and Iveagh Gardens in Dublin, along with other events in counties Limerick and Cork.

On 10 June, an outdoor music event with an audience of 500 is to be piloted in the Iveagh Gardens, followed by an event in the UL Concert Hall Opera on 23 June with 519 attendees.

shutterstock_1114918136 Phoenix Park in Dublin. Source: Shutterstock/trabantos

On 26 June, two fully-seated events are set to take place – an outdoor music festival with 3,600 people in Phoenix Park and another event indoors in the INEC Killarney with 200 people.

The full list of events in June can be found here.

Speaking at a briefing on Friday, Leo Varadkar said that even as restrictions on events and capacity limits ease, there are “difficulties” organisers may face in trying to put events together.

“It does take time to plan for these, to book acts, to get a license and get insurance,” Varadkar said.

The Tánaiste said that “what we will see across the summer maybe is smaller events, not the big ones, but perhaps the 5,000 to 10,000 [attendees] and they might be really nice.

“It maybe won’t be big acts but local acts, and that can be fun.£

Household visits 

Unvaccinated people can have visitors from one other household inside their homes from 7 June. 

From 5 July, people can have visitors from up to three other households inside their homes. 

Currently, fully vaccinated people can meet indoors with other fully vaccinated people for a total of up to three households.

Fully vaccinated people from a maximum of two households can also meet indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household. 

Wedding receptions

shutterstock_122591407 Source: Shutterstock/SunKids

The maximum number of guests at a wedding celebration or reception will increase to 25 from 7 June.

This will increase further to 50 guests on 5 July and 100 in August, subject to the Covid-19 situation at the time. 

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All of the additional changes in July and August will be dependent on the continued improved situation with the disease. 

Others 

Gyms, swimming pools and leisure centres can reopen for individual training from 7 June in a measure previously flagged by the government. 

Outdoor amusement facilities and theme parks can also reopen from this date, along with drive-in cinemas and drive-in bingo. 

Cinemas and theatres can reopen from 7 June.

shutterstock_1955064937 Source: Shutterstock/Gagarin Iurii

Public transport should be able to return to full capacity from 2 August, Eamon Ryan said. It is currently at 50% capacity. 

25,000 driver theory tests will take place per month from 7 June onwards. 

Indoor training, exercise and dance activates can restart from 5 July in pods of up to six. 

The advice in terms of working from home is still to do so if possible, the Taoiseach said.

The Tánaiste said people should only attend workplaces if necessary, and it’s believed this will be the advice until September.

However, Varadkar said certain workplace attendance on a staggered basis will be considered in August before schools and colleges return and while public transport is less busy. 

There will be a further announcement next week on the government’s plans for pandemic welfare supports. 

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