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The Taoiseach chaired the first meeting of the new Government’s Cabinet Committee on Ireland’s Covid-19 response earlier today. The Cabinet Committee was re-established by the new Government on the same basis as the outgoing Government to ensure continuity with the Government’s response to the global pandemic. Ministers received briefings from senior officials from relevant Government Departments, including the acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr Ronan Glynn.

International Travel

The main item on the agenda for the Cabinet Committee was the framework for international travel.  Recommendations will now be referred for discussion and decision by the Government at the cabinet meeting on Monday next.

Pubs and Restaurants

The Cabinet Committee also heard an update on Phase 3 of the re-opening of the economy and society.

It expressed concerns that pubs operating as restaurants should continue to operate in accordance with public health guidelines.  The Government will review a report on compliance from the relevant state authorities, including An Garda Síochána, the public health, and health and safety authorities, at its meeting on Monday.  Strong enforcement measures will be taken against premises that are not operating in accordance with public health guidelines.

Beginning this weekend, An Garda Síochána will conduct checks of licenced premises nationwide in relation to adherence to the public health guidelines.

Places of Worship

Detailed Covid-19 Guidance has been developed for religious services. The Cabinet Committee reviewed the guidance, which state that an assessment should be carried out for each premises to determine how many can attend within the requirements of social distancing.

The Cabinet Committee decided that where the size of the premises allows for a capacity of greater than 50 this may be permitted only where:

  • Social distancing guidelines are adhered to
  • The premises can be subdivided into distinct sections (cordoned or marked appropriately) of not more than 50 persons in each section
  • There is a minimum of 4m between sections
  • Each section having its own entrance/exit route
  • There are separate arrangements for elements of the service involving close contact, e.g. the distribution of Holy Communion
  • Strictly no movement of people between sections before, during or after the service
  • The premises is well-ventilated.

Account must also be taken regarding the risk of congregation by people outside before and after any services, having regard to outdoor overall limits on mass gatherings and arrangements for staggered exiting after ceremonies

The use of face coverings is strongly recommended for such indoor settings.


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