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Donnelly's claims cause more corona confusion


Health Minister Stephen Donnelly

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has caused major confusion for the public and businesses after incorrectly claiming only six people can attend indoor concerts and events.

Government advice is that up to 50 people can attend such indoor gatherings, provided there is social distancing.

The Department of Health spent hours last night insisting Mr Donnelly's claim was correct, only to then be contradicted by a government spokesperson.

The spokesperson said the public health advice was that 50 people could attend indoor organised events, as long as they observed social distancing.

For outdoor events, up to 15 people can attend.


"Cinemas, galleries, theatres are deemed to be controlled environments, with appropriate protective measures in place, such as physical distancing between people," the spokesperson said.

"These venues can continue to operate under existing guidelines."

The spokesperson said all outdoor events are "subject to new limits of 15 people" as these are "mass gatherings where there is a concentration of people at a specific location, for a specific purpose over a set period of time" and "provide opportunities to spread the virus".

This contradicted earlier guidance from the Government that arts events such as concerts, which take place in outdoor venues that allow for social distancing, can have up to 200 attendees.

The Government said individual groups attending these venues must be limited to six people from no more than three households.

Confusion arose after comments made by Mr Donnelly at a press briefing in the Department of Health yesterday afternoon, when he said: "If it's an indoor concert, the answer is no more than six people.

"What I can tell you is that the guidance for the next 25 days is no more than six meeting indoors. If it's to your house, it's your family plus six visitors.

"If it's any of us outside or rather out of our houses - but indoors - it's six, so in a cafe or a gallery or whatever you want."

Mr Donnelly added that gyms, if people are "obeying the rules", can have more than six people, but for gym classes there can be no more than six.

The minister's spokesperson referred queries last night to the Taoiseach's department, and the Government issued a statement attempting to clarify the issue, saying the guidelines for organised indoor events were a maximum of 50 people and 15 for outdoor events.