Tuesday, 16 June 2020
Department of Health
The Government’s Roadmap for Reopening Society & Business, published on 1 May 2020, sets out an indicative path to the easing of COVID 19 restrictions and other actions in order to facilitate the reopening of Ireland’s society and economy in a phased manner. Phase 1 was introduced on 18 May 2020 and the Government confirmed the move to Phase 2 of Roadmap for Reopening Society & Business from Monday, 8 June 2020. Information and advice about the restrictions that have been eased as part of Phase 2 and the measures that are now in place are available on the Government website at http://www.gov.ie/phase2.
The Roadmap specifies that decisions in relation to which actions will be taken and which public health measures might be lifted will be made in accordance with the Framework for Future Decision-Making which is as follows:
1. Before each Government consideration of the easing of restrictions, the Department of Health will provide a report to the Government regarding the following on/off trigger criteria:
- The latest data regarding the progression of the disease,
- The capacity and resilience of the health service in terms of hospital and ICU occupancy,
- The capacity of the programme of sampling, testing and contact tracing,
- The ability to shield and care for at risk groups,
- An assessment of the risk of secondary morbidity and mortality as a consequence of the restrictions.
2. It will also provide risk-based public health advice on what measures could be modified in the next period.
3. The Government would then consider what restrictions could be lifted, having regard to the advice of the Department of Health as well as other social and economic considerations, e.g. the potential for increased employment, relative benefits for citizens and businesses, improving national morale and wellbeing etc.
4. It is acknowledged that there is also an ongoing possibility that restrictions could be re-imposed and this process will be carried out on an ongoing basis once every 3 weeks.
As is clear from the framework described above, it is the Government rather than the Minister or Department of Health that will decide on any modifications to the current public health measures in place and those decisions will be informed by the status of the on/off trigger criteria and the public health advice received at the time that a decision is being made. The decisions of the Government are published and the guidance in operation at a point in time are available on the Government website at
The Government also agreed to bring forward actions in the remaining phases of the Roadmap and plan for four phases rather than the five originally indicated. Work is underway to consider how best to achieve this aim and more information will be made available in the coming weeks. Once this work is completed, it will form part of the Government's considerations.
609. To ask the Minister for Health when summer camps can commence; if children who take part in one camp can take part in another camp or if they will be precluded from doing so due to the risk of cross infection; if children can eat indoors at camps; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11045/20]
643. To ask the Minister for Health the maximum number of children allowed at a summer camp provided they are in groups of no more than 15 and that they can be distanced from other groups of 15; if they can use indoor dressing rooms after a water sport for changing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11212/20]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 609 and 643 together.
I fully recognise that summer camps play an important role in the lives of children and their families and the core objective of any guidance in relation to these is that they operate in a safe manner and comply fully with all public health advice.
As the Deputy is aware, the Government confirmed the move to Phase 2 of Roadmap for Reopening Society & Business from Monday, 8 June 2020. Information and advice about the restrictions that have been eased as part of Phase 2 and the measures that are now in place are available on the Government website at http://www.gov.ie/phase2.
The Health Act 1947 (Section 31A - Temporary Restrictions) (COVID-19) (No. 2) Regulations 2020 (SI No. 206 of 2020) which came into operation from 8 June 2020 until 29 June 2020, allows for groups of up to 15 people who are not from the same household to meet outdoors for social, recreational and exercise activities.
These regulations also stipulate that no more than 6 people who are not from the same household may meet indoors. These meetings should be kept as short as possible and last no more than an hour. Indoor meetings should be in a well-ventilated room where possible and follow social distancing guidelines.
Activities involving children such as summer camps, should include no more than 12 children, to allow for 3 supervisors to be present to supervise the activity and to make sure that public health guidance is being followed.
It is recommended also that supervisors and children should keep to the same groups of 15 or less for these activities. This will help limit contacts should a member of the group become COVID-19 positive. A log should be kept of everyone involved in these activities for contact tracing purposes.
Children should continue to practice social distancing, not share equipment with other children and wash their hands regularly and properly and follow good hygiene when coughing and sneezing. It is advisable generally to limit the number of people the children meet with, as the greater the contact, the greater the risk getting and spreading the virus.
As the Deputy is no doubt aware, you should not travel beyond your county, or 20 kilometres from where you live if crossing county boundaries, to participate in any social, recreational and exercise activities.
The Government also agreed to bring forward actions in the remaining phases of the Roadmap and plan for four phases rather than the five originally indicated. Work is underway to consider how best to achieve this aim and more information will be made available in the coming weeks.