As you will be aware, on July 19 the Government regulations pertaining international travel were amended. The approach to travel and associated restrictions are now significantly different, reflecting the positive impact of the vaccination programme and our gradual emergence from the Covid-19 pandemic.
For sportspeople, this means that international travel can be undertaken without the endorsement of Sport Ireland as ‘essential travel’. With the exception of travel from a Category 2 Country/Designated State, the submission of protocols by NGBs to Sport Ireland to obtain a Travel Certificate is no longer required.
It remains the case that Mandatory Hotel Quarantine is required for passengers arriving from a Category 2 Country who are not fully vaccinated or do not have valid proof of recovery from Covid-19. ‘At home quarantine’ still applies to those who are vaccinated or have valid proof of recovery from Covid-19. Where it can be avoided, Sport Ireland advises against travel to and from these countries. Sport Ireland continues to have a role in supporting requests for exemption for high performance athletes/teams from Mandatory Hotel Quarantine with an equivalent arrangement in place (non-vaccinated or no valid proof of recovery from Covid-19). The process of approval of these requests remains the same as previously; involving a number of external agencies and consideration on a case by case basis.
In light of these changes, the Return to Sport Expert Group advise that NGBs consider the following when undertaking any future travel:
- International travel presents a potentially higher risk now than at any other time during the pandemic due to an increased volume of passengers at airports and on planes. Whilst restrictions may be easing, the approach to protecting travelling teams should not. NGBs are advised to continue to establish protocols in advance of travel to identify and plan for any potential risks.
- Travelling groups should monitor Gov.ie for the most up to date information on the public health obligations upon re-entry to Ireland. As you will have seen throughout the pandemic, changes can occur frequently and without notice.
- Any international country that a group plans to travel to, including EU countries, may adopt differing and more restrictive public health obligations upon entry. It is important to check this information prior to travel with official government sources.
- It can be anticipated that the intention to travel with younger and/or non-vaccinated individuals may increase. NGBs are strongly advised to consider the implications for these individuals should they contract Covid-19 whilst abroad. The process of repatriation can be difficult and individuals may face a situation where they cannot return to Ireland for an extended period of time. This scenario should be planned for in any travel protocol and all individuals should be made aware of this potential scenario.
- The approach to travel by NGBs should remain on an ‘opt-in basis’. Covid-19 is still prevalent in Ireland and overseas. Individuals should be enabled to make their own decision to undertake travel without repercussions.
Thank you for your continuing support in helping to share information about COVID-19. Below are some communications updates for you. This week, we would particularly appreciate your help in sharing our communications updates on vaccination for people aged 18-24.
Please note that our next scheduled partner pack update will be sent out during the week of August 9th.
Public Health Measures
You can find information here about the public health measures in place.
COVID-19 Vaccination Programme
More than 5.34 million vaccines have been administered in Ireland so far and 66% of adults are fully vaccinated. Over 80% of adults have received at least one dose. We are grateful to all of our colleagues and partners, and to the public, for taking part and making this happen.
For updates and information on the vaccination programme please visit www.hse.ie/rollout.
Vaccine registration opens for people aged 18-24
Online registration for everyone aged 18-24 is now open. People in this age group can register now and will be offered a vaccine appointment at a HSE vaccination centre within 3 weeks of registering.
Vaccine options for people in this age group:
People aged 18-24 may have a choice between 2 types of vaccine, both types will protect from severe illness from COVID-19.
When registering online, people can indicate that they are happy to opt for a viral vector vaccine. This may mean they can be vaccinated sooner, all depending on vaccine supplies. The appointment text will let people know which vaccine is being offered.
People aged 18-34 can also choose to get a Janssen vaccine at a participating pharmacy, depending on supplies. If people in this age group are already registered with a pharmacy for a Janssen vaccine, they can now register on HSE.ie for an mRNA vaccine.
Read information to help you decide which vaccine is best for you.
Watch HSE Chief Clinical Officer, Dr Colm Henry speak to people aged 18 to 34 years about their COVID-19 vaccine choices.
Registration for people aged 25 to 69
People aged 25 to 69 who have not already registered for their vaccine can still register online.
Register online to get a COVID-19 vaccine
Read the user guide for help with registering online.
If you cannot register online, you can call the COVID-19 helpline at Freephone: 1800 700 700 to register by phone.
Vaccine resources in other languages
You can find extensive resources about COVID-19 Vaccines and the COVID-19 virus, in up to 36 other languages, here. Languages include Albanian, Arabic, Farsi, Latvian, Romanian, Somali, Tamil and Yoruba.
Please help support COVID vaccines #ForUsAll by adding a #Twibbon to your social media
Why get the COVID-19 vaccine? Get it for yourself, your family, your friends and #ForUsAll
You can now download a Twibbon to use on your social media profile to show your support for COVID-19 vaccines. There are two Twibbons to choose from:
After you have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you are vaccine protected
When your vaccine has had time to work, you can do some things that were not recommended before you were vaccinated. You can find more information here.
EU Digital COVID Certificate
If you have queries in relation to this certificate or international travel in general, you can:
The emergency helpline number for the Digital COVID Certificate is: 1800 851 504
Where to find COVID-19 Vaccination Information
We encourage everyone to read about the COVID-19 vaccine and to get their information from a factual, trusted source – here are the links to the pages with information on the vaccine:
COVID-19 Testing – Online Booking System
We have a COVID-19 test online booking system for testing centres. To book a test, log on to our system here. You can also show up without an appointment, but you may not have to wait as long if you book online.
Full details of how to get tested are available here.
Mobile Service available in Cork / Kerry providing services relating to sexual health, drugs and alcohol
A new mobile health service will travel to all parts of Cork and Kerry in order to make support, information and interventions around sexual health and drug and alcohol services available to all.
The ‘DASH’ (Drugs, Alcohol and Sexual Health) mobile unit is the first of its kind in Ireland, providing community-wide mobile services such as rapid HIV testing, condom provision, drug and alcohol assessments and support from trained health promotion professionals.
You can read more here.
Public Health Information
As always, for the most up to date information and advice on Coronavirus, please go to: https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/c36c85-covid-19-coronavirus/ and https://www.hpsc.ie/a-z/respiratory/coronavirus/novelcoronavirus/. Clinical and professional guidance relating to COVID-19 is available on https://www.hpsc.ie/ where you’ll find up to date guidance for healthcare settings and non-clinical settings.
Please check here for the most up to date partner resources for COVID-19.
You can find the COVID-19 A-Z information here from the HSE’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC).
Please also check the Healthy Ireland site here with further resources and information on the Keep Well campaign.
You can view the latest information on how Ireland is responding to cases of COVID-19 here.
Ireland’s COVID-19 Data Hub is available here.
As you will be aware, on Tuesday, June 29, the Government of Ireland announced the next phase of re-opening which will see some modification to the plans provisionally announced for July. A cautious approach with an emphasis on lower-risk activities will be followed.
Details of the full announcement can be found on the Gov.ie website here. Key highlights relating to sport and physical activity are summarised below:
- The number of spectators permitted at outdoor sporting events will increase as planned, to a maximum of 200 attendees for the majority of stadia, and to 500 for stadia/venues with capacity greater than 5,000, with appropriate protective measures.
The following is not yet permitted:
- Indoor activities, such as organised events, return of group training, exercise and dance classes will not yet proceed. It is anticipated that this will be a short-term delay, provisionally until July 19, pending the development of an appropriate risk-management system by Government.
Sport Ireland will continue to provide any additional or relevant updates to the sector in advance of July 19th. Should sporting bodies have specific queries in relation to how restrictions impact their sport, please feel free to contact the NGB, High Performance or Participation Units for further details.
Sporting bodies are requested to continue promoting safe practices regarding travel to/from training and competitions, management of access and egress points, the appropriate management and scheduled cleaning of toilets facilities and ensuring appropriate Covid Officers are present to implement best practice guidance.
The current government advice is to avoid non-essential international travel. From July 19th, subject to the prevailing public health situation, Ireland will operate the EU Digital COVID Certificate (DCC) for travel originating within the EU/EEA.
Return of Spectators
In a step-wise manner towards full spectator return, pilot events will continue to be rolled out throughout July. These pilot events provide an opportunity for spectator return whilst assessing the implementation of the necessary protective measures. Sport Ireland invites engagement from NGBs with capacity and capability to safely deliver events with a spectator attendance greater than the numbers permitted in the public health guidance.
The Federation of Irish Sport note the announcement of a delay to upcoming plans to reopen indoor sport and physical activity on July 5th. We have been working to establish the key facts for our members as well as seeking clarification on a number of items following the government announcement today. Once further information and clarification has been sought a statement will be issued to members.
Thank you for your patience.
Federation of Irish Sport
Please find some additional information / reminders in relation to the resumption of sport and physical activity during the current June phase.
‘The numbers permitted at organised outdoor events is a maximum of 100 for the majority of venues, with a maximum of 200 for outdoor venues with a minimum accredited capacity of 5,000.’
These figures 100/200 relate to the number of spectators that will now be permitted to attend an event. These figures are independent of participants, officials and coaches.
Sport Ireland has previously distributed guidance to individual / non team sports in relation to delivering competition. NGBs are encouraged to continue to take a prudent approach to overall capacities in the initial return and are encouraged to discuss competition plans and needs with Sport Ireland.
While the return to outdoor Competition can return, the Pods of 15 concept are still maintained for training purposes. In line with previous phases, multiple pods can be used during training sessions however these pods should not mix.
Indoor Individual Training Capacities:
Indoor training activity (no indoor Games, matches or competitions) is currently permitted.
Detailed Guidance on the return to Individual indoor Training specifically for NGBs and LSPs has been previously distributed by Sport Ireland and continues to apply.
The total numbers permitted in an indoor facility will be determined by the overall size of the venue.
When finalising capacity numbers sports should ensure that all relevant protocols in particular physical distancing can be fully implemented.
Other indoor leisure facilities, including gyms, are reopen for people to take part in individual exercise, including 1 to 1 training. It is important to note that indoor Group exercise classes are not permitted in those facilities at this point.
Managing Overall Capacities:
In addition to the gradual return to sporting activity, June & July will see a broader re-opening of society. Sporting Bodies should consider the return of multiple elements of activity such as competition, spectators, hospitality etc. at venues and plan accordingly.
Participation in Sporting Activity during COVID 19:
As with all activity during COVID 19 the return to training and competition should be on an opt-in basis, with participants taking personal responsibility to decide whether they are happy to return. It is important that participants are not be penalised if they wish to opt-out of activity.
Participants should be encouraged to communicate any concerns to their club and/or National Governing Body so that they can be addressed accordingly.
Should you have any additional queries specific to your sport please feel free to raise with the NGB, High Performance and Participation Units.