Reopening Ireland: What is set to restart and when?
Hotels are set to reopen from June 2nd without outdoor hospitality resuming on the 7th
The Cabinet has approved plans for a widespread reopening of the country and the resumption of international travel in the summer, with Taoiseach Micheál Martin due to announce the finalised plan at 6pm.
Here is what we know so far about the announcements that will be made later today based on recommendations from the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet).
Hotels are set to reopen from next Wednesday, June 2nd, ahead of the bank holiday weekend with all outdoor hospitality reopen from Monday, June 7th.
Despite calls from the restaurant industry to allow indoor dining in all restaurants from early June, along with the reopening of hotels, Ministers are due to announce that indoor hospitality for pubs and and restaurants will reopen on July 5th.
The Restaurant Association of Ireland said on Thursday it would be challenging the Government’s decision to allow indoor dining among hotel guests ahead of restaurants, gastro pubs and cafes.
International travel is expected to resume from July 19th after Ministers discussed on Thursday evening operationalising the EU Digital Green Certificate from that date. Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said on Friday morning that Europe would be introducing the travel scheme from July 1st and would allow around six weeks for members states to introduce the travel cert. The digital green cert will allow people to travel if they are fully vaccinated, have a negative PCR test or can show they have recently recovered from Covid-19.
The US, France, Belgium and Luxembourg will be taken off the list for mandatory hotel quarantine, leaving just Turkey on the State’s European red list. Mandatory hotel quarantine is expected to continue beyond July 19th for those travelling from designated red list zones who are not fully vaccinated or do not have a negative PCR test.
However Leo Vardkar Ireland is “not in a position to restore the Common Travel Area yet” due to “real concerns” about the spread of the Indian variant of the Covid-19 virus in Britain.
Also from July, the numbers permitted at outdoor organised events are expected to increase to a maximum of 100 attendees at the majority of venues. For larger venues, such as outdoor stadia or other ‘fixed’ outdoor venues with a minimum capacity of 5,000, this could rise to 200.
It is understood Nphet have recommended that up to 5,000 spectators will be able to attend outdoor events in large stadia such as Croke Park from August 2nd, while smaller outdoor venues would have a limit of 500 people. Indoor events in larger venues could have a capacity of 200 while smaller indoor venues would be limited to 100 people, it is understood.
The Cabinet is to allow fans attend a number of sports fixtures throughout the summer. These are understood to include the Leinster v Dragons rugby game at the RDS on June 11th . Fans also may attend another game, Shamrock Rovers v Finn Harps, on the same day, as well as the Cork City v Cabinteely match. Fans may also attend racing at the Curragh.
From June 7th a maximum of 100 people can attend matches rising to 200 at venues that can accommodate 5,000 or more.This will rise from July 5th, to 200 at matches or 500 where there is a capacity of 5,000 or more.
From August, up to 500 spectators can attend matches, or in larger venues 5000 or 25 per cent of capacity, whichever is smaller.
The number of guests at a wedding reception will rise to 50 people indoors in July, which will then increase to 100 in August, under the Nphet recommendations.
The Government’s plan for outdoor gigs is as follows: an outdoor musical festival in the Phoenix Park on June 26th, fully seated with 3,500 in attendance. An outdoor music event on the 10th of June in the Iveagh Gardens curated by the National Concert Hall with 500 people in attendance. Outside of Dublin there two more music events planned one on the 26th June at the INEC Club in Killarney which will be a music performance that will be fully seated with 200 people.
On a smaller scale, from the 5th of July, up to three households can gather together with another household regardless of vaccination status.
Government Ministers are expected to press ahead with the reopening plans recommended by Nphet despite the significant shortfalls in the supply of vaccines, including potentially a big reduction in the expected numbers of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot.
HSE chief executive Paul Reid said the best-case scenario for deliveries of AstraZeneca in the coming weeks is half of what was expected, while the HSE does not know how many Johnson & Johnson vaccines it will receive. Mr Reid said the number varies from a worst case of 64,000 to a best case of 235,000. So far, 60,000 doses have been received, most of which have been administered.