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COVID-19: What restrictions change from April 12th?

COVID-19: What restrictions change from April 12th?

  • In line with the plan set out in COVID-19 Resilience & Recovery 2021: The Path Ahead, some phased easing of some restrictions commences today, Monday 12th April.
  • This cautious approach will continue until a substantial level of vaccination has been achieved, at which point the Government will move to reopen our society more widely.
  • While the vaccine programme continues to be scaled up, people are encouraged to stay local and to continue to choose outdoor options over indoor options where possible.
  • The vaccination programme has entered its second phase, seeing a significant increase in the scale and speed of vaccinations. However, the Government believes that a widespread lifting of restrictions at this point - in advance of further substantial vaccination - would lead to unacceptable increases in infections, hospitalisations and deaths – and thus the very real prospect of having to reintroduce restrictions.
  • In the meantime, Government’s community support, well-being programmes, employment and business supports continue, with the EWSS, PUP and Covid-19 enhanced illness benefit applicable to June 30th.
  • By being safe now, while significantly ramping up the vaccination programme, the Government contends we will enjoy much greater freedom later in the summer.

Detail of phased easing of restrictions

From April 12th:

  • Full return to in-school teaching.
  • Two households can meet up with one another outdoors for social and recreational purposes (this does not include private gardens). Any meetings outdoors should be safe with continued practising of social distancing and other safe behaviours. Masks should be worn in crowded outdoor spaces.
  • Travel restrictions will be relaxed to enable travel within own county or within 20km of residence if crossing county boundaries.
  • Construction:
  1. All residential construction projects can recommence.
  2. Early Learning and Childcare and school aged childcare services will be added to the list of essential services for construction activity during these restrictions to align with the current exemption to primary and secondary schools (where school building projects are progressing) and to allow important fire safety works to progress.

From April 19th:

Expansion of elite sports to include:

  • training for and playing of National Governing Body sanctioned and organised adult intercounty National Gaelic Games Leagues, not including under 20 or minor competitions.
  • certain high performing athletes as approved by Sport Ireland, in a range of sports.

From April 26th: (subject to prevailing public health situation)

  • Outdoor sports facilities can reopen (e.g., pitches, golf courses and tennis courts, other facilities as appropriate).
  • Outdoor visitor attractions can reopen (i.e., zoos, open pet farms, heritage sites). Amusement parks are not permitted to open.
  • Underage non-contact outdoor training in pods of 15 can recommence.
  • Maximum attendance at funerals will increase to 25 on compassionate grounds. Linked gatherings should not take place before or after funeral services.

Vaccine Bonus for those fully vaccinated

  • Current guidance for those most vulnerable to the severe impacts of COVID-19 – the over 70s and the medically vulnerable - will be aligned with that for the general population (e.g., regarding use of public transport, going to shops etc)
  • Those who have the full protection of the vaccine may visit indoors with one other household who also has full protection.

The measures will continue up to the 4th of May, at which point the following areas will be under consideration:

  • Full re-opening of construction activity.
  • Phased return of non-essential retail commencing with click and collect and outdoor retail i.e., garden centres/nurseries.
  • Recommencement of Personal Services on a staggered basis.

Mandatory Hotel Quarantine

  • Last Friday (9th of April) marked fourteen days since the first passengers entered mandatory hotel quarantine, one of the many significant public health measures taken by the Government designed to protect the population against variants of concern and the risk of transmission from COVID-19.
  • The Government Advisory against all non-essential international travel remains in operation.
  • The majority of people entering quarantine are arriving into Dublin Airport and are arriving from or have transited through a designated State.
  • The Department of Health continues to work with all state stakeholders and with Tifco, the Hotel Group, to ensure the system is flexible and ready to react to the needs of people who are following the public health advice and completing their quarantine, as well as any capacity increase required by the addition of new designated States.
  • Decisions in relation to these additional States are under consideration with various issues including those related to the Common Travel Area and the need to consult with the EU being carefully examined. Further consideration will also be given to ways in which measures pertaining to those travelling from non-designated states might be further strengthened.

Revocation of designation of three states from mandatory hotel quarantine list

  • The Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD, yesterday (Sunday 11th) revoked the designations which have been in place for arrivals from Albania, Israel and St. Lucia under the system of mandatory hotel quarantine. This change is on the advice of the Acting Chief Medical Officer who in turn is supported by an Expert Advisory Group on Travel.
  • The additional countries and territories which the Government has agreed to add to the list from 15th April are: Bangladesh, Belgium, France, Italy, Kenya, Luxembourg, Pakistan, Turkey, the USA, Canada, Armenia, Bermuda, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Curaçao, Maldives, Ukraine.
  • However, the application of the hotel quarantine measures to arrivals from the United States and Canada is subject to the system having sufficient capacity.