‘Today is a good day’.
An Taoiseach has confirmed that most of Ireland’s Covid restrictions will be removed at 6am tomorrow, Saturday, meaning it will finally be possible to enjoy a pint past 8pm once again this weekend.
In his address to the nation this evening, Mr Martin announced the news the country’s embattled publicans (and punters) have been waiting for.
As per the latest NPHET recommendations, signed off in Cabinet this afternoon, pubs, restaurants, nightclubs and hotels can revert to normal serving hours, putting a proper night out back on the cards for the first time since December 20th.
“Earlier, my government colleagues and I met to consider the latest report from the National Public Health Emergency Team.” said Mr Martin.
“That report confirmed that we have weathered the Omicron storm. It confirmed that the rate of infection is reducing and then all of the key indicators on which we base our decisions have stabilised and are going in the right direction. It confirmed that Ireland’s world-class vaccination program and the rollout of boosters have utterly transformed our situation.
“Based on this evidence, we’ve concluded that the rationale and justification for continuing most of our public health restrictions are no longer in place. Therefore, from 6am Tomorrow morning, the majority of public health measures that we’ve had to live with will be removed.”
“It is time to be ourselves again.”
There’s more good news on the socialising front too as theatres and sports venues also received the green light to operate at full capacity.
There are no longer any limits on events and gatherings of any size.
Spring is coming.
We need to see each other again,
we need to see each other smile,
we need to sing again. pic.twitter.com/149ZHQLfJx
— Micheál Martin (@MichealMartinTD) January 21, 2022
The guidelines on social distancing and working from home will also be relaxed, with a phased return to the office permitted from Monday.
With the highly transmissible Omicron variant still rife and causing serious illness in the community, mask-wearing will continue to be required in busy places but the digital COVID pass will no longer be required at the doors of Ireland’s bars and restaurants.
A further 6,597 PCR-confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported this evening and 4,564 people registered a positive antigen test through the HSE portal.
As it stands, 892 COVID-19 patients are in hospital, with 88 of those patients in intensive care (ICU).