From today a suite of reintroduced public health restrictions come into effect, but what exactly are they and how do they effect individuals and business?
The change which has caught most headlines is Government’s decision to introduce a 12am curfew for all licensed premises. It came into effect at midnight on Thursday.
This means all bars, restaurants and nightclubs will have to ask their customers to exit their premises by midnight.
When the curfew was first announced on Tuesday it was still unclear how it would affect hotels. Government has now confirmed that hotel bar service is also restricted under the measure and all resident’s bars, dinner dances and wedding venues must be vacated by midnight also.
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Cinemas and theatres
The need to show Covid-19 vaccination passes is now required for cinema and theatre goers. This means all attendees will need Covid-19 passes – based on vaccination or recovery – to see shows from today.
Work from home
Government is advising that everyone should revert to working from home unless it is necessary to attend the workplace in person. This means a return to the situation on working from home as it applied before 20 September 2021.
Household close contacts who are fully vaccinated and showing no symptoms should now restrict their movements until they have three negative antigen test results within five days.
Antigen testing in primary schools
As well as reintroducing some restrictions, cabinet has announced that antigen testing will be used in primary school settings. Under the’ test to stay’ programme – which is due to begin on Monday November 29 – primary pupils in a classroom pod where another child has tested positive for Covid will remain at school unless they have symptoms or test positive.
A big difference between this and the previous test and contact tracing system is that when that was in use, pupils who were close contacts stayed at home for 10 days, regardless of whether they had symptoms.
Meanwhile, this week the Health Minister Stephen Donnelly announced that the booster campaign will be ramped-up. The over-50s, residents in nursing homes, healthcare workers and people aged 16-59 years with underlying conditions are now eligible.
People who are very immuno-compromised are given what is called an additional vaccine rather than a booster, at least two months after being fully vaccinated.
Booster vaccinations for older age groups have been underway since October, so they had a head start.