Covid certs could reopen live music and leisure, Varadkar says

ireland
Covid Certs Could Reopen Live Music And Leisure, Varadkar Says Covid Certs Could Reopen Live Music And Leisure, Varadkar Says
Leo Varadkar said the live music, arts, leisure and entertainment sectors could reopen using the proposed system. Photo: PA Images.
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The live music, arts, leisure and entertainment sectors could reopen using the Government’s proposed system of access to indoor dining, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has told the Dáil.

Mr Varadkar said the system limiting indoor dining to those who are fully vaccinated or have recently recovered from Covid-19 could extend to these sectors, according to The Irish Times.

He added that “we may not have to use this system for very long”.

“In the meantime, we might be able to use it to reopen other sectors currently closed like live music, for example, the arts, leisure, and entertainment facilities,” Mr Varadkar said.

Both PCR and antigen testing would be part of the system although it would take time to establish, he said.

'Imperfect'

Mr Varadkar said the overall plan is “imperfect,” but challenged Opposition politicians to outline alternatives.

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The plan was a better “middle path - a safe path,” he said, between the two alternatives of either fully reopening the hospitality sector without any restrictions or keeping it closed until there is herd immunity, which he said was not an option.

“We’re taking a middle course that can reopen indoor hospitality in a safe and sustainable way,” he said adding that there will be a sunset clause with a review in October.

Mr Varadkar said the State is taking a similar approach to what Denmark and Germany have been doing for some time and which France, Portugal and Greece are going to implement.

Owners will have to follow existing practices of keeping contact details under the new system, with additional checks that a person has a valid certificate, he added.

However, he stressed that “although there will be enforcement measures in place, this isn’t about catching anyone out, and we’re certainly not going to see compliance officers going table to table, checking people’s passes”.

Hotel quarantine eased

Meanwhile, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has also included measures to ease Ireland’s mandatory hotel quarantine regime and create “flexibility” by allowing alternative testing processes for passengers arriving without a test.

The measures remove the obligation on some or all travellers to have a pre-travel test and allows those who have recovered from Covid-19 to be released from quarantine.

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Mr Donnelly also said that all second doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine should be administered by the end of this week, adding: “Three in every five adults are now fully vaccinated and later this week we will have administered five million doses of vaccine.”

It comes as a further 783 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in the Republic today, in the highest daily figure since February 20th.

In an update, the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) said the country is now in the early stages of exponential growth with the Delta variant.

Deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn highlighted the impact of travel on case numbers in the Republic over the past fortnight, with 626 travel-related infections identified.

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