Marts will no longer need to have 2m physical distancing in place and mart canteens are set to operate at full capacity from Saturday 22 January.

On Friday evening, Government announced that it was removing a range of COVID-19 public health measures, among them the requirement for physical distancing of 2m in general.

The requirement to maintain contact details for contact tracing purposes has also been scrapped and capacity restrictions for indoor and outdoor events have also been removed.


Government said that the requirement for mask wearing will remain in place until 28 February.

The Irish Co-Operative Organisation Society (ICOS) has told the Irish Farmers Journal that it is awaiting clarification from the Department of Agriculture regarding mask wearing at marts.

The body welcomed the relaxing of COVID-19 restrictions, especially in the context of mart canteens, ICOS livestock and environmental services executive Ray Doyle said.

“They are an integral part of marts and that social aspect will now return after two years of being stifled. We look forward to marts returning to the way they were in the two years before COVID-19.

“Social distancing requirements are gone, canteens will be at full service and farmers can be relaxed in returning to marts,” he said.

The public is being reminded that if you have any symptoms of COVID-19, isolate and get a test. If you are a close contact follow the guidance on

Weathered the storm

Announcing the lifting of restrictions on Friday, An Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the country had “weathered the Omicron storm”.

“The changes we are making will likely lead to a temporary rise in infections in the short term, but we are advised that the impact of this rise will be limited by the scale of vaccination in the population.

“It is important also to say that I can’t promise you there won’t be further twists in this pandemic requiring different decisions in the future,” he said.