Written answers

Thursday, 6 May 2021

Photo of Paul MurphyPaul Murphy (Dublin South West, RISE)
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223. To ask the Minister for Health if he will consider introducing provisions to allow persons over 60 years of age who are certified as having been vaccinated in Ireland to use swimming pools and gyms; and if so, the related certification and monitoring provisions that may he put in place. [23506/21]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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There has been considerable progress in reducing infection levels since the peak of the wave of infection in late 2020/early 2021 because of the widespread commitment and adherence by the public to the public health measures in place. While there is still a high level of infection nationally, the situation is considered reasonably stable and significant progress is being made in relation to the roll-out of our vaccination programme.

In recognition of the improving situation, the Government announced a roadmap on the 29 April for the gradual lifting of some restrictions over the next two months, with a particular focus on allowing more outdoor activities. A range of measures will be eased in May, with a further easing of measures in June subject to the epidemiological situation at the time.

Under this roadmap, it is envisaged that gyms, swimming pools and leisure centres will reopen from the 7 June for individual training.

The “vaccine bonus/dividend” provisions currently in place are guided by public health advice and are specifically focused on social visits to private homes to alleviate the impacts of social isolation. From 10 May, those that are fully vaccinated may visit with other fully vaccinated people, providing there is no more than 3 households present and those that are fully vaccinated may visit with unvaccinated people from a single household, provided that they are not at risk of severe illness and there is no more than 3 households present.

It is important to note that while there is now scope to ease a range of public health measures, the approach must continue to be cautious, gradual and on a phased basis, with sufficient time between any easing of measures to assess the impact. This will be critical to ensuring the protection of the gains of recent months, the protection of those most vulnerable, and the protection of health and social care, education, and childcare services.

Significant progress has been made on suppressing the virus over recent months due to the huge effort of people across the country. By working together, we have saved lives and limited the impact of the disease on society in Ireland. We all must continue to do everything possible to continue to avoid the virus spreading and to support the safe reopening of activities over the coming months.


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