Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Questions (1533, 1534)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

1533. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Health when he plans to announce changes to the number that can be permitted at weddings given these events require considerable advance planning (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14584/21]

View answer

Thomas Pringle

Question:

1534. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Health the amount of notice that will be given regarding the number of persons that will be permitted at weddings during Covid-19 restrictions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14585/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1533 and 1534 together.

The public health restrictions at level 5 of the Government's Framework Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021: Plan for Living with COVID-19 will remain in place until 5th April 2021, when a further review will be conducted. The Framework continues to provide an appropriate mechanism to guide decision-making, and it will continue to be supplemented by more detailed sectoral guidance in relation to measures that apply at each level of the Framework.

Last month, the Government published COVID-19 Resilience & Recovery 2021: The Path Ahead. This three part plan reviews the learnings from our experience to date, considers the enormous impacts our efforts to manage and suppress the disease have had on our economy and on our society and sets out a cautious and measured approach to the easing of restrictions over the coming months.  

At Level 5, 6 guests may attend the wedding  and wedding ceremony irrespective of venue.  This does not include the persons getting married or persons attending in a professional capacity.  The various limits at all levels in the Government's Plan are all designed to reduce the number of households mixing with each other and cut down the virus’s chances of spreading into more homes. It seeks to balance the risks of different types of gatherings against the desire to allow normal activities to proceed in so far as possible. The COVID-19 Resilience & Recovery 2021: The Path Ahead Appendix 1, Social and Family Gatherings/Weddings outlines wedding numbers permissible at different levels of the plan.

COVID-19 spreads when individuals and groups come into close contact with one another, enabling the virus to move from one person to another. COVID-19 is infectious in a person with no symptoms, or for the period of time before they develop symptoms.  In certain settings, such as weddings, higher noise levels due to music, can force people into close proximity, requiring them to raise their voices or shout to communicate thus increasing the risk of spreading the virus to others. 

It is not possible to say what public health measures will be in place in the future.  The public health advice relating to Covid-19 is kept under continuing review by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET),  by my Department and by the Government. The measures in place and the public health advice have been adapted to the changing circumstances and this will continue to be the case for the foreseeable future.

You may also wish to note that Fáilte Ireland has provided guidelines for the hospitality industry which includes guidance on weddings and is available at: - https://failtecdn.azureedge.net/failteireland/Guidelines-for-Re-opening-Hotels-and-Guesthouses.pdf