A piece of legislation has been proposed which would extend the government’s Covid powers to as late as June of 2022, including the ability to impose vaccine certs and mask wearing.
The Bill was outlined in an Oireachtas briefing note.
There are four key pieces of Covid legislation – namely:
- (Part 2 of) the Health (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 2021
- (Part 3 of) the Health (Preservation and Protection and other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) Act 2020
- Criminal Justice (Enforcement Powers) (Covid-19) Act 2020
- Health (Amendment) Act 2020
The Health (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 2021 is currently due to expire on 9th of January 2022, while the other three acts will expire on 9th of February 2022.
However, a new piece of primary legislation (titled the Health and Criminal Justice (Covid-19) (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2021) seeks to extend the sunset provisions to March 2022 with the possibility of one three month extension to June 2022.
“The maintenance of the provisions of these Acts will enable us to continue to require the use of the Digital Covid Certificate for entry into indoor hospitality, nightclubs and live entertainment venues, the use of face-coverings and other measures that are currently in place in order to protect public health,” the briefing document says.
It adds that it is important “to ensure that there continues to be a legal basis for further measures if required.”
The document says that, according to NPHET, “it is unlikely that vaccination alone, even at the high levels of vaccine coverage in Ireland, will…enable the suppression of the disease.”
It adds: “This means that through this coming autumn and winter, possibly in the face of high levels of infection, there will be a continuing requirement for non-pharmaceutical interventions.”