Ireland Scraps COVID Restrictions, Becoming the Most Travel-Friendly Country in the E.U.

The Emerald Isle has said goodbye to curfews and capacities


Ireland has maintained some of the longest-running travel restrictions in the European Union, but after coming out on the other side of a countrywide Omicron outbreak which led to it having the second-highest rate of infection in Europe just last week, the country is ready to do away with virtually all the COVID rules.

In a televised address on Friday, Prime Minister Micheal Martin announced that — per the advice of public health officials — bars and restaurants would no longer need to close at 8 p.m. or to ask customers for proof of vaccination, and all venues, both indoor and outdoor, would be able to return to full capacity, effective Saturday. Further, people will still be expected to wear face coverings on public transport and in shops, but only until the end of February.

“We have weathered the Omicron storm,” Martin said the address, during which, according to a report from Reuters, he credited booster vaccines for “utterly transforming” the situation in the country.

“I have stood here and spoken to you on some very dark days. But today is a good day,” he said.

This comes on the heels of the country’s decision to drop the testing requirement for vaccinated travelers at the start of the new year, meaning it’s currently one of the easiest countries to visit. And, as The Points Guys‘ Clint Henderson points out, the relaxed rules came just in time, too. That’s because with pubs being able to operate at full capacity and not adhere to a curfew, all signs point to Ireland being able to properly celebrate St. Patrick’s Day for the first time since before the pandemic, when an estimated two million people gathered to attend parades and festivals nationwide.

The latest series of changes also align Ireland with Northern Ireland where COVID rules are involved, with the latter loosening restrictions and dropping vaccine passes on Thursday. Northern Ireland is also set to reopen nightclubs next week.

In short, if you’ve got any imminent plans to travel to the Emerald Isle, you’re going to want to book those flights now.


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