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Government moves to clarify new rules on restrictions

Calls for clarity follow confusion over the permitted number of people allowed to attend indoor and outdoor events.

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People wearing facemasks in Athy, Co Kildare (Niall Carson/PA)

People wearing facemasks in Athy, Co Kildare (Niall Carson/PA)

People wearing facemasks in Athy, Co Kildare (Niall Carson/PA)

The Government has been forced to clarify the number of people allowed to attend cultural venues following conflicting statements and widespread confusion over the new restrictions.

There have been calls for further clarity about Tuesday’s announcement following confusion over the permitted number of people allowed to attend indoor and outdoor events.

The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht stated on Wednesday that events in venues like cinemas, galleries and theatres where there is physical distancing and controlled measures can continue under current guidelines.

There current limit is 50 for indoor events and 200 for outdoor.

However, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly later said that indoor concerts could not exceed six people from three different households.

This led to confusion, with the National Campaign for the Arts calling for the Department and the Government to provide better clarity about cultural events.

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Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly (Julien Behal)

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly (Julien Behal)

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Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly (Julien Behal)

In a statement from the Taoiseach’s department on Thursday, a spokeswoman said: “Following consultation with the Ministers of Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht and the Minister for Health, the following clarification applies to measures introduced with respect to the cultural sector:

“Businesses/services such as museums, cinemas, theatres and art galleries are deemed to be controlled environments, with appropriate protective measures in place such as physical distancing between people.

“These venues can continue to operate where appropriate physical distancing and all other protective measures can continue to be maintained. Individual groupings attending these venues must be limited to six people from no more than three households.

“Overall attendance must adhere to an overall limit of 50 people.

“All other indoor cultural events are subject to the six-person maximum rule. All outdoor events are subject to the new limits of 15.

“These events are deemed as mass gatherings where there is a concentration of people at a specific location for a specific purpose over a set period of time.

“These types of events provide opportunities for the virus to spread.”

PA