Thursday, 9 September 2021

Questions (953, 1178, 1267)

Pa Daly

Question:

953. Deputy Pa Daly asked the Minister for Health if he will report on the distinction of casinos, amusement arcades, play centres and leisure facilities as opposed to indoor dining venues with regard to being an indoor operator permitted to operate under the Covid-19 public health measures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41423/21]

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Catherine Murphy

Question:

1178. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Health the date on which he will allow children’s soft play centres, snooker halls and bowling alleys to reopen in the context of public health guidelines in view of the fact that other hospitality venues such as licensed premises and restaurants are permitted to allow indoor patrons; and the rationale for keeping such facilities closed at this time in view of the fact that the State has achieved a high degree of vaccination. [41997/21]

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Ruairí Ó Murchú

Question:

1267. Deputy Ruairí Ó Murchú asked the Minister for Health the expected timeframe for information on the reopening of indoor leisure facilities such as arcades, casinos, bingo and snooker halls; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42281/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 953, 1178 and 1267 together.

As outlined in COVID-19: Reframing the Challenge, Continuing Our Recovery and Reconnecting, which was announced by Government on 31 August, leisure facilities where patrons have defined areas which are pre-booked including bowling, snooker halls, indoor play centres and amusement arcades may reopen from 20 September. Capacity is limited to 100 people where all patrons are immune or accompanied minors. Where patrons have mixed immunity status, pods of up to 6 participants will be permitted with multiple pods permitted.

Based on the criteria of at or close to 90% of people 16 or over being fully vaccinated in the coming weeks and having regard to the incidence and behaviour of the disease at that time, from 22 October onwards, restrictions on high-risk activities, including casinos, will be lifted.

Since the onset of the pandemic, we have saved lives and limited the impact of the disease on society in Ireland due to the huge effort of people across the country. Thanks to the hard work of the Irish people and the progress of our vaccination programme, we are now entering a new phase in the management of the pandemic. As our approach to the management of COVID-19 transitions from population wide restrictions to guidance we must continue to practice basic preventative behaviours, including in relation to self-isolation and restricting movements when advised, observing good respiratory and hand hygiene, physical distancing and mask wearing when appropriate.

COVID-19: Reframing the Challenge, Continuing Our Recovery and Reconnecting can be found online: https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/f5291-post-cabinet-statement-covid-19-reframing-the-challenge-continuing-our-recovery-and-reconnecting/