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16th Nov 2021

Cabinet to consider Covid passes for hairdressers and gyms

Changes are being made.

With Covid figures soaring over the last number of weeks and ministers giving predictions on how the country might be affected if numbers continue to increase, they are looking at new ways to keep them down.

The Government is now advising people to work from home where possible and are looking to extend the use of Covid certs and booster vaccines to prevent the situation from getting worse.

HSE chief executive Paul Reid told a Cabinet subcommittee on Monday night that there is a greater risk now for the health service than we have seen during the entire pandemic.

The Cabinet today is set to consider whether passes will be extended to include gyms and hairdressers, as well as introducing a subsidy for antigen tests as a way to encourage their use.

It has since been reported that certs will be required for entry to cinemas and theatres instead, and not hairdressers and gyms.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan said that he was in favour of the introduction of Covid passes to these businesses.

“Of course we would be in favour. The more we can see assurance of measures in place in different settings, the better,” he said.

“We would have no reason to have any concern about that and nothing to stop people in those sectors saying, ‘That’s an additional security and safety measure that I can put in place to protect my staff, to protect my customers.’ That would be a good thing.”

Cabinet met last night to discuss new Covid policies, while Taoiseach Michéal Martin said they will look into subsidising antigen tests to make them more affordable as well as discussing extending digital Covid cert use.

Speaking in Navan at the opening of a new housing estate, Martin said that extending the use of Covid certs on other parts of society is still being discussed.

“Behaviour is key, obviously. As society reopens that reduces that level of compliance and behaviour changes, understandably. I think we have to adjust our behaviours both individually and collectively as groups as families,” he said.