Thursday, 17 December 2020
Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
329. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her views on matters raised in correspondence by a person (details supplied) with regard to Fáilte Ireland guidelines for weddings; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44555/20]
On 27 November the Government agreed the approach for easing restrictions, including a phased move to Level 3 nationally, with a number of exceptions in place for the Christmas period. The exceptions for the Christmas period are designed to support people to have a meaningful Christmas, albeit different to other years. The main objective is to stay safe and keep the COVID-19 numbers down so that we can maintain the lowest possible level of restrictions into the New Year. While weddings with up to 25 guests are permitted, additional restrictions include no live music in any setting.
In line with the Plan for Living with COVID-19the Government has, in recent months, framed restrictions to account for periods where there is low incidence of the disease, with isolated clusters and low community transmission, through to situations where there is high or rapidly increasing incidence, widespread community transmission and the pandemic is escalating rapidly in Ireland and globally. Throughout this period the Government has made special provision for weddings in view of the importance of these occasions to couples and the level of planning that is involved for couples and their families.
Each level of the Plan for Living with Covid-19 contains a range of measures which are intended, collectively, to contribute to lowering risk of transmission in alignment with the risk level at that time. The risk level at this time has meant that some activities have not been permitted such as live music at weddings. I understand the difficulties these restrictions pose for couples on their special day. However in certain settings, such as weddings, higher noise levels due to music can force people into close proximity, requiring them to raise their voices or shout to communicate thus increasing the risk of spreading virus to others. Such activity presents a higher risk of transmission of Covid-19.
Accordingly, the Government has decided that no live or loud music is permitted at weddings in any setting. The details of these additional restrictions agreed by Government were communicated to Fáilte Ireland by my Department and are now reflected in the current guidelines published on the Fáilte Ireland website. The public health measures put in place at any point in time are subject to ongoing review in the context of the trajectory of the virus.