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Covid-19 Pandemic

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 11 May 2021

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Questions (727, 851, 862)

Pauline Tully

Question:

727. Deputy Pauline Tully asked the Minister for Health the conditions which are needed for weddings restrictions to be relaxed to allow for more than six in attendance; the timeframe for weddings to be able to permit more than six guests; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23833/21]

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Paul McAuliffe

Question:

851. Deputy Paul McAuliffe asked the Minister for Health if he will provide a roadmap for weddings over the next few months in line with the level of vaccinations and proposed number of attendees at weddings. [24352/21]

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Patricia Ryan

Question:

862. Deputy Patricia Ryan asked the Minister for Health if clarity will be provided to persons getting married in 2021 and that regulations relating to Covid-19 restrictions will remain consistent; if the number of guests permitted at indoor receptions will be increased; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24418/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 727, 851 and 862 together.

There has been considerable progress in reducing infection levels since the peak of the wave of infection in late 2020/early 2021 because of the widespread commitment and adherence by the public to the public health measures in place. While there is still a high level of infection nationally, the situation is considered reasonably stable and significant progress is being made in relation to the roll-out of our vaccination programme.

In recognition of the improving situation, the Government announced a roadmap on the 29 April for the gradual lifting of some restrictions over the next two months, with a particular focus on allowing more outdoor activities. A range of measures will be eased in May, with a further easing of measures in June subject to the epidemiological situation at the time.

The announcement includes the following changes to the measures applying to weddings: as of May 10, there can be an increase in the number of guests attending wedding services to 50 which brings this figure in line with the numbers permitted at religious services.

This increase to 50 guests relates to the service (both religious or civil) only. The number of guests attending a wedding celebration or reception should remain at 6 guests for indoor gatherings and 15 guests for outdoor gatherings. From 7 June, subject to the epidemiological situation at the time, it is envisaged that the numbers of guests attending a wedding celebration or reception will increase to 25. The Government has indicated that a further range of activities, including numbers attending indoor and outdoor events, will be considered at the end of June. Information in relation to the Government announcement is available here: https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/0bd80-new-public-health-measures-announced-the-path-ahead/

In line with the roadmap announced by the Government to gradually lift restrictions, Fáilte Ireland are in the process of updating their operational guidelines and these guidelines will be available online: https://covid19.failteireland.ie/operational-guidelines/

It is important to note that while there is now scope to ease a range of public health measures, this approach must continue to be cautious, gradual and on a phased basis, with sufficient time between any easing of measures to assess the impact. This will be critical to ensuring the protection of the gains of recent months, the protection of those most vulnerable, and the protection of health and social care, education, and childcare services.

Significant progress has been made on suppressing the virus over recent months due to the huge effort of people across the country. By working together, we have saved lives and limited the impact of the disease on society in Ireland. We all must continue to do everything possible to continue to avoid the virus spreading and to support the safe reopening of activities over the coming months.

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