Ireland plans to drop almost all of its COVID-19 restrictions in October, the country’s prime minister recently announced.
After a series of phased easing of restrictions, there will no longer be requirements for physical distancing or wearing a mask while either indoors or outdoors beginning Oct. 22.
The process will begin Monday, allowing organized indoor events and mass gatherings to take place with venue capacity limits of 60% when all attendees are vaccinated or immune. Cinemas and theaters will also operate at 60% of capacity limits.
Organized outdoor events and mass gatherings can take place with venue capacity limits of 75% when all attendees are vaccinated or immune.
Starting Sept. 20, organized indoor group activities — including sports, arts, culture, and dance classes — can take place with capacity limits of 100 people when all attendees are vaccinated or immune. Restrictions on outdoor group activities will be removed.
“Because of the effort of our vaccination team and because you have stepped up to the mark and taken the vaccine when it was offered, we are now entering a whole new phase of the pandemic,” Prime Minister Micheál Martin said in a televised address, Reuters reported, adding almost 90% of adults in Ireland are fully vaccinated as are 80% of over those over 12 years old.
Ireland maintained what some people called the most stringent COVID-19 restriction in Europe.
On July 19, Ireland adopted the European Union’s COVID-19 certificate so citizens could travel to the EU — and visitors could travel from the EU to Ireland. What’s more, people from Britain and the U.S. were able to travel to Ireland then as well.
“Subject to the continuation of this [vaccination] progress, we will enter a final phase on October 22, which is likely to last until at least next spring,” the prime minister’s office explained in a statement. “This phase will see the majority of restrictions lifted and replaced by guidance and advice to enable us to work together to protect ourselves and to live our lives to the fullest extent possible.”
Even so, the statement does go on to caution that “we will need to continue to monitor the ongoing risk from the disease and take steps individually and collectively in our everyday lives to keep this risk under control.”