- 21 Jan 22
Following a Cabinet meeting today, the Taoiseach announced momentous changes to the country's Covid-19 restrictions.
In an official address to the nation this evening, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has announced that almost all of Ireland's Covid-19 restrictions will be lifted from 6am tomorrow, January 22. It's a landmark moment in the country's fight against the virus – marking the biggest changes to restrictions since the pandemic began almost two years ago.
From tomorrow, pubs, restaurants and nightclubs will be able to operate at normal pre-pandemic trading times – following a month of 8pm curfews. Covid passes/passports will no longer be required, except for international travel. Social distancing will also end in indoor hospitality and entertainment venues.
Indoor and outdoor events will be able to go ahead as normal, with no restrictions on capacity, from tomorrow. There will no longer be guidelines regarding the number of households allowed to gather together. The phased return to the workplace can also now begin.
The wearing of masks in spaces that they are currently required, however, will remain in place.
In his speech, the Taoiseach stated that "today is good day."
"We should all take a moment to appreciate how far we've come," he added.
In addition to stressing that "vaccination is key", Martin said that the Government will continue to expand hospital and ICU capacity. He also announced that the Government have decided to continue the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme.
"The pandemic isn't over," he remarked. "It will still require all of us to vigilant."
Concluding his speech, the Taoiseach noted that, as Spring approaches, "we need to see each other again" – and "it is time to be ourselves again."
The Taoiseach's announcement follows a Cabinet meeting today, and a NPHET meeting on Thursday.
Speaking on RTÉ Radio 1's Morning Ireland earlier this week, he described the current situation as "positive" – noting that "we have come through Omicron better than we might have expected prior to Christmas.”
"We are entering into a new phase," he stated, in learning to live alongside Covid-19.
According to the Department of Health, the HPSC was notified of 6,597 confirmed cases of Covid-19 today, while an additional 4,564 registered a positive antigen test through the HSE portal on Thursday.
Take a look at some of the reactions to the lifting of restrictions on Twitter:
— Sinead Farrelly (@sinead_farrelly) January 21, 2022
Just in case you’d had forgotten what a bar stool at the counter looks like. Back to normal tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/RdRlbp7H7r
— Ma Hogans Bar, Limerick (@MaHogansBar) January 21, 2022
— Eleanore Hutch (@elehutch) January 21, 2022
Nobody panic, it might be short notice but we’ve got you covered for Coppers. pic.twitter.com/elfQicLUkc
— Lidl Ireland (@lidl_ireland) January 21, 2022