Tuesday, 27 July 2021
Department of Health
2800. To ask the Minister for Health when play activity centres will be allowed to reopen given operators of such centres require clarity urgently on their plan for reopening; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39225/21]
2912. To ask the Minister for Health if his Department has consulted with other Departments or with the indoor leisure sector to proactively set guidelines for the safe reopening of the sector, for example, play centres once NPHET advises it is safe to resume these activities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39633/21]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 2798, 2800, 2816 and 2912 together.
As the Deputies will be aware, on 29 June, Government announced the next phase of reopening the economy and society in line with Recovery and Resilience: The Path Ahead.
While significant progress is being made in relation to the roll-out of our vaccination programme and the position had been broadly stable over the earlier part of June, the prevalence of the more transmissible Delta variant is rapidly increasing in Ireland and this poses a significant risk, in particular to those who are not yet fully vaccinated. For this reason, a number of higher risk indoor activities will not recommence as planned on 5 July, pending the implementation of a system to verify vaccination or immunity status.
Unfortunately, due to current uncertainties with regard to the Delta variant there is not yet an indication of when indoor play activity centres or soft play centres will reopen. The epidemiological situation will be monitored on an ongoing basis and the level of restrictions will be kept under review by Government.
There is a range of guidance for businesses including the Work Safely Protocol (www.gov.ie/en/publication/bb7fd-work-safely-protocol/) and extensive guidance from the HPSC available online: www.hpsc.ie/a-z/respiratory/coronavirus/novelcoronavirus/guidance/employersemployeesguidance/.
Significant and sustained 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. To protect the gains of recent months we must continue to practice basic preventative behaviours and to follow public health guidelines.