The use of Digital Covid Certificates for indoor hospitality may be extended beyond October 22 due to increasing fears over the spread the virus ahead of the next stage of easing restrictions.
he Government planned to lift the ban on unvaccinated people or those who are not immune from Covid from dining indoors next Friday but are now considering delaying the move.
Ministers and senior officials have conceded it is likely the Covid certificates will still have to be shown to dine indoors and for other inside activities beyond October 22.
Speaking today, Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris said the Government will consider if the use of vaccine passes will be extended past October 22, even though they were due to expire on this date.
Mr Harris said that the decision on whether the full lifting of restrictions should proceed or not is not a “binary one”.
“I would think we should be asking more nuanced question of each other and of Government and of public health – how can you safely reopen something and keep it open? So, for example, on the 22nd of October, vaccine certs were due to no longer be required.”
He said that if vaccine certs were to “stay a little bit longer” it would allow for sectors to stay open safely.
At a Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting on Wednesday, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar would not rule out the possibility of Covid passes being extended for indoor hospitality. Mr Varadkar was responding to a question from. Fine Gael senator Garett Ahern.
In a statement today, Mr Ahern said Covid certificates should continue to be necessary throughout the winter months to “protect public health and promote strong business in the hospitality sector”.
“I know many people wish to continue going into bars and restaurants over the winter months, but the prospect for people of sitting beside unvaccinated groups with no public health restrictions makes many feel very uncomfortable and could limit business within the hospitality sector,” the Tipperary senator said.
The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) are due to give advice to the Government on Monday but senior members of the expert group have publicly raised concerns about the current trajectory of the virus.
There are fears the public has dropped its guard in the fight against the virus and this is leading to a rise in positive cases. Nphet is also anxious to see more people vaccinated even though an overwhelming majority of the population have already received their vaccines.
The remaining restrictions that are due to be lifted on October 22 are:
The requirement for physical distancing
Requirements for mask wearing outdoors and in indoor private settings
Limits on numbers at indoor and outdoor events and activities
Restrictions on religious or civil ceremonies
Limits on numbers that can meet in private homes/gardens
Certification of vaccination, immunity or testing as a prerequisite for access to, or engagement in, any activities or events (with the exception of international travel)
Restrictions on high-risk activities such as nightclubs.
Visit our Covid-19 vaccine dashboard for updates on the roll out of the vaccination program and the rate of Coronavirus cases Ireland