Return to the office and indoor classes: Here's what restrictions have eased today

Return to the office and indoor classes: Here's what restrictions have eased today

People can begin to return to workplaces today “for specific business requirements” and on a “phased and staggered attendance basis”. Picture: PA

Monday sees the country take another step towards what many hope will be the end of Covid-19 restrictions.

Another set of measures eases from today, with people returning to offices and indoor classes.

The go-ahead was given by the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) last week, so here’s what has changed.

Return to workplaces:

People can begin to return to workplaces today “for specific business requirements” and on a “phased and staggered attendance basis”.

Speaking on Sunday, the Tánaiste said that many will be looking forward to the return to the office but he added that he wants remote working to remain permanently.

“I know many are looking forward to returning to the office, to see their colleagues who they’ve only seen through a screen for the past 18 months, in person.

"For those who were recruited during the pandemic, it will be the first time ever they’ve been in the office or met their co-workers – even after over a year working together in some cases,” said Leo Varadkar.

He added that Covid-19 has taught people what is possible in terms of remote working.

Mr Varadkar said it “transformed the world of work overnight”.

“I hope we can learn something from what worked for workers and employers during that time and incorporate it post-Covid.

"We really want to see remote working become a permanent fixture of Irish working life. I hope employers are speaking to their staff to figure out what works best for them and the business as this phased return begins.” 

Organised outdoor group activities:

Restrictions on outdoor group activities for participants will be removed from today.

Where applicable, spectator attendance will remain in line with regulations for events.

Organised indoor group activities:

Indoor group activities such as sports, arts or dance classes can resume.

Capacity is limited to 100 people, provided they are all immune. Being immune means you are either full vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 within the previous six months.

Where there is mixed immunity, pods of up to six people will be permitted.

The pods exclude group leaders or teachers.

The Government has said that multiple pods will be permissible subject to protective measures.

The number of pods allowed will "have regard to the size of venue and substantial social distance between individual pod".

What about weddings, religious ceremonies and cultural attractions?

Weddings will continue to be limited to 100 guests as per the restrictions that eased on September 6, but live music is permitted.

Religious ceremonies can go ahead with 50% of venue capacity, regardless of the immunity status of attendees.

Galleries and museums can open with protective measures in place while cinemas and theatres will have capacity limits of 60% where all patrons are fully vaccinated.

What next?

From October 22, provided the virus remains under control, the majority of restrictions will be lifted.

They will be replaced with “guidance and advice” to be delivered by the Government.

Nightclubs will reopen, restrictions on religious and civil ceremonies will lift and the limits on numbers at indoor and outdoor events and activities will be removed.

Needing a vaccine certificate for access to activities or events will also be removed, with the exception of international travel.

The following measures will remain in place from October 22:

  • self-isolation when people have symptoms 
  • mask-wearing in healthcare settings, indoor retail and on public transport

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