Government leaders have agreed that remaining restrictions will be lifted 7 months ago

Government leaders have agreed that remaining restrictions will be lifted

Mask-wearing is set to be voluntary from next Monday.

Government leaders have decided to lift almost all remaining Covid restrictions.

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Taoiseach Micheal Martin, Tanaiste Leo Varadkar, and Minister Eamon Ryan have agreed on advice made by NPHET to drop rules around mask-wearing and restrictions in schools.

The final decision will be made by Cabinet this morning. An agreement is expected to be reached for changes to effect from Monday 28 February.

People will no longer have to wear masks in schools, shops, on public transport or at work.

People would still be advised to continue wearing masks but there will it won't be mandatory. The only place it will be required is in healthcare settings, like hospitals and nursing homes.

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Also, Covid restrictions on schools and childcare are set to go - such as physical distancing measures, staggered breaks and pods.

NPHET itself will also be wound-up but the Office of the Chief Medical Officer will still keep a close watch on the "epidemiological profile of the disease."

Image via Julien Behal/RollingNews.ie
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On Thursday, Taoiseach Michael Martin confirmed 28 February as the day when rules around face masks would be scrapped.

He said the country is "moving from the emergency phase of the pandemic to a new transitionary phase".

Meanwhile, Minister Stephen Donnelly has accepted advice from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee that children aged 12 and 15 are to be offered a Covid-19 booster vaccination.

"It's important that we continue to protect ourselves and those around us from Covid," he said.

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He added: "The benefits [of vaccination] - the prevention of serious illness and death – are clear, however, the reduction in rate of infection is important as Ireland removes some of the last public health restrictions in place."

He also encouraged anyone who has not yet received a booster to make an appointment.