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Government aims to end most Covid restrictions by end of October

The next easing of restrictions will begin next week.

The government sub-committee on Covid met this evening to finalise the government's roadmap for the further reopening of society.
The government sub-committee on Covid met this evening to finalise the government's roadmap for the further reopening of society.
Image: Sam Boal

THE GOVERNMENT AIMS to scrap almost all Covid restrictions by 22 October if a 90% vaccination target can be reached and the incidence of the virus remains stable or is falling, it has emerged.

The Cabinet sub-committee on Covid met this evening to finalise the government’s roadmap for the further reopening of society in the autumn.

Subject to full Cabinet approval tomorrow, all Covid restrictions will be lifted by the end of October, moving to a model of personal responsibility. However, it is understood that restrictions on mask-wearing will remain in some settings.

Live indoor music, including at weddings, will also be permitted from 6 September.

From that date, live events will also be allowed to take place with 60% of an indoor venue’s capacity permitted for fully vaccinated people and 75% of outdoor capacity for those who are vaccinated, it is understood.

A mixture of events involving vaccinated and unvaccinated people will likewise be permitted, although the number of people allowed at these will likely be subject to capacity restrictions.

There will be limitations for both indoor and outdoor locations in relation to seating and reduced capacity, with the rules differing for each setting.

Sources said vaccine certs will be utilised a lot in September, but noted that the law specifically refers to their use indoors only. Current legislation governing the use of vaccine certs is due to lapse on 9 October, with sources stating such laws will cease that month.

Trade exhibitions will also be allowed to go ahead from early next month.

Sources said that next week, 6 September, and 20 September will be the key dates in the phased easing of restrictions. 

It is understood that from 6 September, communions and confirmations will be allowed to resume.

Bingo halls, arcades, bowling alleys, indoor sports, dance and other classes will return on 20 September.

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It is also expected that a trial nightclub event will be held before the end of September.

A further easing of restrictions will take place on 20 September, such as the staggered reopening of workplaces.

The detailed roadmap for easing restrictions is expected to span from September and into October.

The Taoiseach is due to give a live address on the new plan tomorrow evening. 

Speaking on his way into the sub-committee meeting earlier, Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath said the final easing of Covid measures will begin next week.

He said there will be a move away “in a gradual sense from a rules and regulations based system”.

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