Irish pubs and nightclubs set to open without testing as Ireland heads for 'full reopening'

By Ciara Phelan

Tourism Minister Catherine Martin has said she expects nightclubs to reopen from October 22 without antigen testing.

It comes as reports this morning that NPHET members voiced concerns over the rise in positivity rates.

And Tanáiste Leo Varadkar warned this morning that he "can't rule out" some Covid-19 restrictions remaining beyond October 22.

Speaking to reporters at Government Buildings, Ms Martin said: “I want the nightclubs to reopen.

“As it stands we are heading for a full reopening on October 22.”

Ms Martin said she is not aware of any Covid-19 cases being linked back to a pilot nightclub event at the Button Factory last month as clubbers had to take an antigen test before entering.

General view of pubs in TempleBar in Dublin. (Collins Photo Agency)

Ms Martin said antigen testing will not be part of reopening nightclubs as the expert advisory group on antigen testing will not have its findings ready for reopening on October 22.

She said she “would feel that if we’re waiting for that report it won't come in time for October 22, so I would feel that the reopening of nightclubs on October 22 would reopen without antigen testing.”

Ms Martin said if the advisory group recommends the use of antigen testing then she will consider that but if the report is not ready prior to reopening on October 22, she doesn’t want that to hold back the reopening of clubs.

Ms Martin said the Government will listen to NPHET’s advice and she admitted there is “concern” there regarding the numbers in hospital and ICU with Covid-19.


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