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Weddings of 100 people will be possible indoors from 20 July

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar made the announcement this evening.

Image: Shutterstock/HDesert

Updated Jun 19th 2020, 8:00 PM

WEDDINGS WILL BE able to return from 29 June, under the latest easing of the Covid-19 restrictions announced by the Taoiseach this evening. 

Leo Varadkar confirmed the news amid a series of announcements detailing what can take place under Phase Three of the easing of Covid-19 restrictions. 

Under the new rules set to begin on 29 June, mass gatherings of people will be limited to 50 people indoors and 200 people outdoors, until 20 July. 

After 20 July, Varadkar confirmed that numbers will rise to 100 people indoors and 500 people outdoors. 

The announcement means that funerals – for the duration of the crisis limited to a minimal number of attendees – will be able to return to some normality. 

It also means that weddings, many cancelled or postponed because of the pandemic, will be allowed to happen again from 29 June and on a larger scale from 20 July. 

This evening, Varadkar warned that people will still need to be careful. ”It will not be as it was before,” he said. 

As for weddings that may be planned in the coming months, Varadkar said that there are no limits set yet but that they will not be kept at 100 and 500 on an ongoing basis.

“There’s no date set for moving beyond what’s been set out, 100 indoors and 500 outdoors, and we’ve said that all major mass gatherings over 5,000 won’t happen this side of 31 August. But we will review the picture every three weeks as we have up until now,” Varadkar said. 

So we’re certainly not saying that it’ll be a max of 100 indoors forever or 500 outdoors forever. We will review the situation later in July or August, and perhaps increase the numbers then, but one step at a time.  

Speaking about the same issue, chief medical officer Dr. Tony Holohan said that there is likely to be “ongoing guidance” once restrictions are lifted:

“What I would say too is that the ECDC has published, and it continues to, ongoing guidance, and it has given an indication of important measures for the future after countries complete the process of easing restrictions. 

“It has identified mass gatherings, both indoor and outdoor, as an activity where there is likely to be into the future, some form of continuing restriction and that’s its guidance as of last Friday, so we’re very conscious of that. 

Elaina Fitzgerald Kane, President of the Irish Hotels Federation, said that tonight’s announcement provided “some clarity for hotels and engaged couples, especially those whose special days were cancelled due to the COVID-19 restrictions or whose weddings are imminent”.

However, this limit fails to acknowledge the extensive health and safety measures already developed so that hotels can provide a safe environment for guests and their teams, nor does it take account of the capacity of some properties to host larger events safely.
We are calling on the Government to allow hotels that can safely host larger weddings to do so based on the size and scale of the venues, rather than imposing a general limit on how many people can gather at any venue, regardless of safe capacity.

Fáilte

Fáilte Ireland published guidance for the hospitality sector earlier this month, which suggested that weddings could look very different in the weeks to come. 

“To avoid making direct contact with doors, guests should enter the property through doors that are automated or manually operated by an employee where possible,” the guidance states. 

Canapés will be served in individual portions, while loose furniture will be removed from rooms to facilitate physical distancing. 

Dance floors might see the biggest change: “Signage on tables and dance floors must ask guests to respect physical distancing guidelines,” the document states. 

“Employees must monitor and manage distancing,” it adds. 

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Cabinet signed off on the decisions this afternoon, following recommendations from NPHET. 

The number of cases and hospitalisations remains low, despite the easing of restrictions. However, the number of close contacts associated with each confirmed case has increased since the strictest restrictions were eased. 

This evening, health officials said that two more people with Covid-19 have died and 13 new cases of the disease were confirmed. 

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