Covid-19 certification a key measure to allow restrictions to ease
Everyone must take steps to manage the risk posed by Covid-19 as the Government’s next phase of reopening proceeds on a cautious basis, according to Laois/Offaly TD Charlie Flanagan.
The Fine Gael TD was speaking after the announcement of new measures to contain the virus but to also allow more freedoms that will allow further reopening.
“In line with public health advice, my colleagues in Government have agreed to the full reopening of the hospitality, entertainment and night-time sector from this Friday, October 22, thanks to the enormous efforts made by people across Laois and Offaly and the success of the vaccination programme," said Dep Flanagan.
He said the measures that will be in place this Friday have to be complied with.
“Wide and robust implementation of the Covid-19 certificate, along with ID, will be required to enter hospitality businesses. All protective measures should be employed by everyone, including acting fast, isolating and getting tested if we have symptoms; wearing our face coverings where appropriate, making sure indoor spaces are well ventilated; maintaining adequate social distancing whenever appropriate; and covering our coughs and sneezes and keeping our hands clean.
“Nightclubs can reopen with the appropriate protective measures in place, there will no longer be limits on the numbers attending weddings and religious services, and indoor live music, drama, entertainment and sporting events can take place provided they are fully seated.
“As we move forward together, it is vital that we continue to act responsibly and monitor the ongoing risk posed by this dangerous and unpredictable disease,” he said.
Deputy Flanagan continued in relation to the vaccination programme.
“A booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine will be offered to people aged 60 to 79 who have completed their first course with any Covid-19 vaccine, following a recommendation from NIAC. The booster dose should ideally be given six months (with a minimum interval of five months) following completion of their primary vaccine course.
“NPHET has also recommended the HSE should implement a programme of Covid-19 antigen testing (with PCR confirmation of positive cases) for people who are identified as fully vaccinated close contacts of a confirmed case and who do not have any symptoms.
“The Rapid Testing Expert Advisory Group has been requested to provide a view as to the potential utility of voluntary self-testing by asymptomatic individuals who plan to engage in high-risk behaviours and activities, such as going to nightclubs," he said.
The Government TD also spoke about income supports.
“Current enhanced illness benefit payment arrangements for Covid-19 will also remain in place. This benefit is available at a rate of €350 a week, with no waiting days, for employees and self-employed people who are certified by a registered medical practitioner as having been diagnosed with Covid-19 or a probable source of infection of Covid-19," he said.
The TD said that from October 22nd, the further easing of restrictions can proceed with the extended use of the Covid-19 pass in light of the high level of disease in the community at this point in time, and the uncertain trajectory of the disease. Protective measures include:
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