Government’s Grand Plan For Reopening Society

31 Aug 2021 | 06.27 pm

Government’s Grand Plan For Reopening Society

Most restrictions to go after October 20

31 Aug 2021 | 06.27 pm

The government has agreed a plan to slowly unwind almost all Covid-19 restrictions from October 22, in a phase lasting into spring 2022.

In its portentously named document ‘Covid-19: Reframing the Challenge, Continuing Our Recovery and Reconnecting’, the government says it “has agreed that during the interim period between 1 September and 22 October, we will continue our careful and gradual approach to reopening, while supporting maximum reach of the vaccine programme and allowing time to achieve the full benefits for all those currently being vaccinated”.

The plan is built around the expectation of having more than 90% of the population fully vaccinated by the end of September. At present 88% of adults (18+) have been fully vaccinated and those aged from 12 to 18 are being targeted with both an information campaign and the continuation of walk-in vaccination clinics each weekend.

This week up to September 6, public transport will move back to 100% capacity and restrictions on organised indoor and outdoor events or mass gatherings will be eased. From September 20, indoor and outdoor group activities such as sports, arts, culture, dance classes will resume, as will attendance at work for specific business requirements, but on the basis of phased and staggered attendance.

During this period social distancing and mask wearing will continue to be required, but social distancing will be lifted from October 22 and masks will not be required outdoors or in indoor private settings.

The key dates are:

September 6

  • Live indoor music will be permitted having regard to appropriate protective factors, including at weddings, from Monday 6 September.
  • There will be no change to the current limit of 100 guests at weddings during September.
  • From that date, live events will be allowed to take place with 60% of an indoor venue’s capacity, where all patrons are immune (fully vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19 within the previous six months) and 75% of outdoor capacity where all attendees are immune.
  • From 6 September, all religious ceremonies will be allowed to proceed with 50% of venue capacity, regardless of immunity status of attendees. 

September 20

  • Organised indoor group activities (such as sports, arts and dance classes) can take place for up to 100 people where all attendees are immune or accompanied minors. 
  • Where attendees have mixed immunity status, pods of up to six participants will be permitted. 
  • Restrictions on outdoor group activities will be removed. 
  • Attendance at work for specific business requirements may commence on a phased and staggered attendance basis from 20 September. 

In October, the majority of restrictions will be replaced by guidance and advice based on personal judgement and responsibility.

October 22

Final restrictions will be lifted including: 

  • Requirements for physical distancing
  • Requirements for mask wearing outdoors and in indoor private settings
  • Limits on numbers at indoor and outdoor events and activities
  • Restrictions on religious or civil ceremonies
  • Limits on numbers that can meet in private homes/gardens
  • Certification of vaccination, immunity or testing as a prerequisite for access to, or engagement in, any activities or events (with exception of international travel)
  • Restrictions on high-risk activities such as nightclubs.

Measures that will remain in place include the requirement to self-isolate when people have symptoms, and the wearing of masks in healthcare settings, indoor retail and on public transport.

As part of the plan, the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) will be scaled back from 22 October. 

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