Are house parties allowed during COVID-19?

New measures announced by the Government limits the amount of people who can be in one household at a time
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illustration of people wearing face masks around a dining table following the covid19 gathering restrictions

With lockdown restrictions eased, many people have been excited to spend time with friends and visit people in their homes. However, the Government has introduced new measures to limit how many people can gather in a household at once. These guidelines come after concerns that the coronavirus has been spreading in house parties that have taken place after some of the COVID-19 restrictions eased. 

Can I have a party in my house?

The current guidelines allow you to visit another person’s home, so having people over is currently within the rules. However, with these new guidelines, there is a limit to how many people can be in your home at once.

The current limit on gatherings in Ireland include:

  • No more than two households should meet at any one time.
  • You can have no more than six visitors in your home, from one other household.
  • Up to 50 people at indoor gatherings (e.g. weddings, funerals) 
  • Up to 15 people at outdoor gatherings

If you are in Dublin or Donegal, there are special measures in place, which mean:

  • No more than two households should meet at any one time.
  • You can have no more than six visitors in your home, from one other household.
  • No socialising can take place outside of the home, including in organised indoor settings.
  • Up to 15 people can attend an organised outdoor gathering, once it is being managed by an event organiser and regulations are followed.

In all of these cases, try your best to keep your social distance (at least two metres apart) from others and wash your hands regularly.

How many people can I have in my house?

This new advice means that currently, no more than six people should gather for a social visit in someone’s home. In addition, those six people cannot come from more than three households. It’s a good idea to avoid getting too close to others at a social gathering, so try your best to keep your social distance (at least two metres apart).

It is possible to host different people on different days in order to avoid going over these limits. However, it is a good idea in general to try and limit the number of close contacts you have in order to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. Here are some other ways you can stay safe as restrictions ease.

Why is having a house party a risk?

COVID-19 is a highly transmissible infectious disease, and the virus wants to spread. But it needs people to come into contact to do so. Coming together in groups, in enclosed spaces with a lack of ventilation, where there is close contact between people and long durations of time spent together creates an environment where it is easier for the virus to spread. Laughing, shouting or singing can release droplets that may contain the virus and infect other people nearby. These are all risk factors to be aware of. To reduce your risk, limit your time in other people’s homes. Keep your social contacts as low as possible. Stick to outdoor meet-ups if possible.

What is the difference between a social gathering and an indoor gathering?

The current guidelines say up to six people can meet at a ‘social gathering’ in someone’s home, but up to 50 people can attend ‘indoor gatherings’.

An indoor gathering refers to a bigger event, such as a wedding, funeral, or attending a religious service like mass, that takes place in a venue other than someone’s home. Social distancing should also be observed at these events. For events like this, the maximum amount of people who can attend is 50. If these events were to take place outside (such as an outdoor wedding), the maximum number of people allowed is still 50.

On the other hand, a social gathering such as a house party or having lunch or dinner with friends is limited to six people from no more than three households. These gatherings take place in someone’s home rather than an outside venue.

Why are there limits on gatherings?

As COVID-19 restrictions ease, many people want to spend time with friends and family and do things they weren’t able to do during lockdown. However, just because the restrictions are lifting does not mean that the virus has gone away. This is why it’s necessary to continue to follow guidelines around social distancing, washing your hands, wearing face masks, and avoiding close contact with people outside your household.

You may be feeling nervous about restrictions lifting. Here are some things you can do to stay safe as we come out of lockdown.

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