Tim Mossholder Zdv9ngtm0sw Unsplash 2

Last updated 22 December 2021

This last week has been another difficult one for all trying to keep colleagues and audiences safe and stay well to see family and friends. It seems that the new public health measures announced on Monday herald in yet another phase of this pandemic, bringing the last difficult year to a close. Looking ahead, we wish you and all of your families a peaceful Christmas and we will support you and your colleagues through whatever 2022 brings.

Here are the main points of the public health measures, updated on 20 December, and currently in place.

Indoor Events
No indoor events, including entertainment, cultural, community and sporting events, will take place after 8pm. In relation to events happening earlier in the day, attendance should be limited to 50% of venue capacity or 1,000 attendees, whichever is the lower. This includes cinemas. This does not affect religious, educational or normal workplace business activity and business events (for example: conferences, trade fairs).

You may be asked for contact tracing data (for example: name, contact number).

Wedding receptions can take place with a capacity limit of 100 guests and continue after 8pm. Midnight closing time still applies.

Outdoor events
Attendance at outdoor events, including entertainment, cultural, community and sporting events, should be limited to 50% of venue capacity or 5,000 attendees, whichever is the lower.

Group activities
Organisers of indoor and outdoor group activities should ensure that appropriate protective measures are in place, and where indoor groups have a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated people indoors, pods of 6 should apply.

For children under 18, the “pod of 6” system can be adjusted to allow for indoor games and competition activities only, with all other protective measures remaining in place.

The “pod of 6” system should be retained for all other settings such as training activities and games as part of training. Fixed capacity limits will not apply to these indoor and outdoor group activities.

EU Digital COVID Certificate
An EU Digital COVID Certificate (COVID pass) (vaccine or recovery certificate) is required for:

  • indoor hospitality and events
  • cinemas and theatres
  • gyms and leisure centres (excluding access to swimming pools or standalone swimming pool facilities)
  • hotel bars and restaurants (that is, removing exemption for residents)

There are exemptions for those for whom a hotel setting is their permanent residence (for example, those in emergency accommodation or other state-supported accommodation arrangements).

Face masks
Face masks must be worn in certain settings. They can be removed for consumption of food or drinks as appropriate.

Guidance for close contacts
For further information on what to do if you are a close contact, visit the HSE’s website.

You can also see a quick guide to isolation on the HPSC’s website.

Hospitality
All restaurants, bars and cafes, excluding take away or delivery services, close at 8pm.

Work
Everyone should work from home unless it is necessary to attend the workplace in person.

Pandemic Unemployment Payment
There are a few points that should be brought to the attention of applicants when applying for PUP as follows:

  1. People are given four choices to describe their current employment status:
  • Full Time Employment Ended
  • Full Time Employment Ended Temporary Layoff
  • Part Time Employment Ended
  • Self-Employment Ended

It is important that the correct status is updated at the application process.  If a person is self-employed, it is important that they enter that their “Self-Employment Ended” otherwise their application will be rejected.

2. If a person is part time and they were in receipt of either Jobseekers or the Part Time Job Incentive for the Self-Employed – and where their part time employment has ended as a result of the restrictions on 7th Dec – they can make an application for PUP.  You must stop your jobseekers claim or Part Time Job Incentive claim before making a PUP application – otherwise the PUP claim will be rejected.

  • The COVID -19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment scheme was closed to new applicants in July 2021, but it reopened 7 December for a limited time to support people who lose their employment as a result of the new COVID-19 public health restrictions. See PUP section above for more information.
  • On 15 December, Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media issued updated guidelines for nightlife and entertainment. This documentintends to provide guidance for venues operating for the purposes of live entertainment in a safe and controlled manner.
  • The revised Live Entertainment Guidelines around Capacity for Live Entertainment reflects that while live entertainment venues can operate with 50% capacity (fully seated), it is important that all available space in the venue is used to maximise social distancing i.e. seating should be spaced out throughout the venue and not confined to a particular area.   Each venue operator should determine what is a safe capacity for the individual characteristics of that venue and exercise judgement and caution with due regard to public safety. In this regard, individual venue operators should decide how best they can operate in the interest of protecting public health.”
  • 8 December, Minister Martin announced supports package of €50m for the Live Performance Sector. The supports are in response to the introduction of new restrictions on live performance capacities.
Photo Credit ©Tim Mossholder