DUBLIN (REUTERS) - Ireland, which had one of Europe's longest Covid-19 lockdowns, will drop almost all pandemic restrictions in October after one of the continent's most successful vaccine roll-outs, Prime Minister Micheal Martin said on Tuesday (Aug 31).
From Oct 22, the requirement for vaccine certificates in bars and restaurants will be dropped, as will all restrictions on the number of people attending indoor and outdoor events.
As part of a phased easing of restrictions, the government is recommending the reopening of theatres and cinemas at 60 per cent capacity next week and a return of non-essential workers to offices from Sept 20.
"Because of the effort of our vaccination team and because you have stepped up to the mark and taken the vaccine when it was offered, we are now entering a whole new phase of the pandemic," Mr Martin said in a televised address.
Almost 90 per cent of adults in Ireland are fully vaccinated, as are 80 per cent of over those over 12 years old.
Indoor dining in cafes, bars and restaurants was banned in Ireland for much of the 16 months to July, when the government opened the sector to people with vaccine certificates.
The Irish government in recent weeks has been heavily criticised by the live-events sector as large concerts took place in Britain, which dropped most restrictions on July 19 but has a lower level of vaccinations.
Mr Martin struck a note of caution, however, warning of an increase in case numbers in the coming weeks before an expected decline.
"We are very unlikely to ever be able to be rid of the virus completely," he said.