Nightclubs to reopen as social distancing scrapped in Ireland

As the ongoing pandemic rages, the legal requirement for social distancing in bars and restaurants is to be removed pretty soon.

Nightclubs are also to be allowed to reopen, meaning legal restrictions on dancing in venues will be scrapped.

Restrictions will be lifted from 31 October.

A number of mitigations have been agreed and it is thought businesses will be asked to check for vaccine certificates, but this will not be a legal requirement.

Ministers have also agreed to retain the mandatory wearing of face coverings in certain settings.

It is understood ministers were advised that moving legal regulations on face coverings into guidance would lead to a 30% decline in their use.

The industry had argued that social distancing requirements were damaging trade.

The new rules mean people will be able to move around pubs and restaurants and to eat and drink while standing up.

Changes were also announced to the UK travel red list, which has been cut from 54 countries to seven.

First Minister Paul Givan welcomed the easing of restrictions, particularly for the the hospitality sector, which he said had been hit hard during the pandemic.

“I’m pleased that at the end of this month they will be able to operate in a much more sustainable and viable way,” he said.

Mr Givan said the sector benefitted from “a high level of adherence” to coronavirus restrictions, adding that he believed this would continue.

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said she was pleased progress had been made at Thursday’s executive meeting, but that people should remain cautious.

“We’re in for an uncertain period ahead and we have to work our way through that as best we can,” she said.

Ms O’Neill said continuing increasing vaccination rates would also be a “crucially important” part of the executive’s winter planning.

Under existing rules, social distancing of at least 1m (3ft) remains a legal requirement in pubs, bars and restaurants in Northern Ireland.

From Thursday 14 October the restrictions on the number of people allowed to meet inside a home is to be increased from 15 from four households to 30 from an unlimited number of households.

From that date, people attending performances at indoor venues will not have to be seated during the performance.

Courtesy: BBC News.

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