Local businesses react to impending easing of Covid restrictions

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Following yesterday’s announcement about what restrictions would be lifted, there still remains some uncertainty across the sectors.

The original plan was that all restrictions would be lifted and mask wearing and distancing to be scrapped on Friday, October 22nd, but that was revised in light of the rise in Covid case numbers.

The easing of restrictions from Friday will see nightclubs reopening for the first time since the pandemic began, pubs will resume normal trading hours and there will be no capacity limits for weddings or religious ceremonies.

Stadiums can also have full capacity for sporting events and the return to workplaces on a phased basis will continue.

A number of conditions will still apply, including the wearing of face masks, a Covid 19 pass for indoor hospitality and events and social distancing, while specific guidelines for sectors are still expected.

Wedding guest numbers had been restricted to 100, but as of Friday, that will be lifted.

Wedding coordinator with the Clonmel Park Hotel, Laura Jones said that this is welcome news for the couples who have faced so much uncertainty throughout the pandemic.

“We were delighted and I think our wedding couples were even more happy than we were, because they’ve been planning their dream wedding day for a year or two years.

“These couples Fran have had so many knock backs over the last couple of months.

“A lot of these weddings, apart from at the Clonmel Park, talking to industry colleagues, they’re dealing with couples who had these dates booked three and four times and it’s very disheartening and it’s very disheartening dealing with suppliers time and time again due to the restrictions.

“Now the fact that they have their day this side of Christmas and the fact that they can have increased numbers, I think it’s a win all around.”

Parish Priest Administrator for Ardfinnan and Newcastle, Fr Michael Toomey has been vocal throughout the crisis on the restrictions for religious services.

He told Tipp Today that this announcement brings a new phase for mass goers.

“We can now move into learning to live with Covid, it’s been 19 months of what I’ve been looking at red tape every day in the Church, I’m just in Fourmilewater Church to celebrate Mass here, so I’ve ripped up all the red tape and put them in a bag to recycle them sensibly.

“I think it’s going to be a case Fran, for people who might be a bit nervous or apprehensive going back, it’s common sense.

“I think, the Government, and I know I’ve been critical at times, but they have had a huge undertaking to get it right, I think a lack of interaction at the early stages and at the middle stages caused a lot of frustration.”

Dan Ward, of The Cube nightclub in Templemore said that it’s been a long 18 months, but they have been planning for the reopening.

“Well, the only thing we know at the moment Fran, is that every person going to a nightclub or an entertainment venue, will have to have a Covid cert and that’s all we know at the moment. We’re waiting for public guidelines today.

“I think most people understand now that there are rules and regulations there and that we have to police them, and people are very cooperative really.”

Specific guidelines for nightclubs are still expected, as they will differ from those for restaurants, pubs and late bars.