Q&A: What restrictions end on Monday and what will happen Covid testing?

Q&A: What restrictions end on Monday and what will happen Covid testing?

Passengers wearing facemasks on the Luas in Dublin. Most remaining Covid-19 restrictions will end from next Monday. Picture: Gareth Chaney

The Government has agreed to end almost all remaining Covid-19 restrictions from next Monday.

The updated advice will affect the guidelines for schools, the retail sector and public transport. Advice around Covid-19 testing will also change. 

Here, we answer your questions about what is set to change when Ireland takes this significant step towards the end of the Covid-19 pandemic:

Will I still have to wear a facemask?

No, the wearing of facemasks will no longer be mandatory from next Monday.

Masks will no longer be legally required in retail settings or in schools, though the public health advice is that they should continue to be worn on public transport and in healthcare settings.

What is changing for schools and childcare facilities?

Specific measures such as learning pods, social distancing, and staggered break times for schools and childcare facilities will also end from next Monday.

However, advice relating to ventilation, hygiene measures, and advice to stay home if symptomatic will continue in early learning settings, school-aged childcare, primary and post-primary schools.

Speaking earlier, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said next Monday's changes would see the return of "a more normal school and childcare experience".

What is changing around Covid-19 testing?

The Government has accepted the updated public health advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) in relation to isolation and testing requirements for Covid-19 symptoms, cases and close contacts.

From Monday, those with symptoms who are aged under 55, or those over age 55 and who have had a booster vaccine dose and are in good health, will no longer be required to get a PCR test. 

People over the age of 55 who have not received a booster jab, pregnant women, and people who are immuno-compromised or have high-risk medical conditions, should still book a Covid-19 test if they are symptomatic.

Anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 is advised to self-isolate for seven days.

However, from Monday, close contacts of positive cases are no longer required to restrict movement or self-isolate, unless they have symptoms. 

Full details around the updated testing advice can be read below:

Who

Advice/ testing requirement

If you are aged 55 years and older AND unboosted:

Self-isolate and get a PCR test. Follow public health advice following test result

If you have a high-risk medical condition:

Self-isolate and get a PCR test. Follow public health advice following test result

If you are immunocompromised:

Self-isolate and get a PCR test. Follow public health advice following test result

If you live in the same household as a person who is immunocompromised:

Self-isolate and get a PCR test. Follow public health advice following test result

If you provide care or support for person they know to be immunocompromised:

Self-isolate and get a PCR test. Follow public health advice following test result

If you are pregnant:

Self-isolate and get a PCR test. Follow public health advice following test result

All others

No test required but self-isolate until 48 hours after symptoms resolve

The only close contact who needs to do a test is if they are a healthcare worker. The advice for them is: 

They are required to carry out repeat antigen testing, unless they have recovered from Covid in the previous three months.

Further information on all of the above can be found here.

Why is the Government removing restrictions now?

Facemasks for sale in Dublin city centre. 
Facemasks for sale in Dublin city centre. 

Explaining its rationale for the changes, the Government said the current epidemiological profile of the virus here continued to provide “a broadly stable and positive outlook”, particularly in relation to the stabilising of the number of infections in younger adults.

It said that while hospitals were still burdened with Covid-19 cases, the health care system was also relatively stable. 

This afternoon, the Tánaiste said the Government had accepted advice from Nphet last week which concluded that there was "no longer a continuing public health rationale" for retaining facemasks. 

Mr Varadkar also said the Government had agreed with Nphet's advice that there be no vaccine mandates for the public or healthcare workers, but that they will be encouraged to get a jab.

"This is the next step that we are taking towards living with Covid as an endemic virus, one that we manage in the way that we have managed viruses like the flu, for example, in the past,” he said.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin, speaking from Berlin said, said that a Covid-19 Cabinet sub-committee meeting next week would examine Ireland’s approach to Covid-19 over the next year.

“I want to thank the Irish people for the manner in which they responded to the pandemic. The resilience of the Irish people was clearly displayed and revealed throughout the pandemic itself,” he said.

“It has been a very difficult period. We are now moving out of the emergency phase of the pandemic. 

"We are in a different phase. The pandemic isn’t over,” he said.

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

Let Me Tell You

Let Me Tell You is a new bespoke podcast series from 

Logo IE

Hosts Daniel McConnell and Paul Hosford take a look back at some of the most dramatic moments in recent Irish political history from the unique perspective of one of the key players involved.

Bespoke political podcast series from

Logo IE
War_map
Execution Time: 0.216 s