Latest Updates


The Government regulations for EU Digital COVID Certificate (COVID pass vaccine or recovery certificate) will no longer be required for gyms and leisure centres from 6 am Saturday 22nd January.


The Government regulations for EU Digital COVID Certificate (COVID pass vaccine or recovery certificate) is required for gyms and leisure centres (excluding access to swimming pools or standalone swimming pool facilities) until further notice.

The Government regulations for EU Digital COVID Certificate (COVID pass vaccine or recovery certificate) is required for gyms and leisure centres (excluding access to swimming pools or standalone swimming pool facilities) apply until further notice.

Current restrictions are set out in the Health Act 1947 (Section 31A – Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) (No. 2) Regulations 2021

The situation is being monitored regularly by the government and if any changes are made before 30 January 2022, we will communicate any updates.

For more information on the EU Digital COVID Certificate, click here.

To read the Public health measures in place right now, click here.


Further to the government announcement, based on advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), from 7th December, users of leisure, health and fitness facilities will be required to present a vaccination pass.

Requirement for COVID pass (vaccination or recovery) for gyms and leisure centres (excluding access to swimming pools or standalone swimming pool facilities). A Covid pass is required if the users wish to use a sauna or steam room.

The exemption applies to people who are using the swimming pool only.

Implementing this in buildings with fitness/leisure and swim facilities will require operators to conduct a risk assessment and devise a practical operating system to allow both users to enter your facility.

Masks should be worn when entering and exiting a facility and travelling within the building. Masks are not required when exercising or swimming.

COVID pass (vaccination or recovery) can NOT be replaced by antigen or PCR tests for entry to a gym or leisure facility.

COVID pass (vaccination or recovery) are required for access to Gyms and Indoor group activities, which include:

  • Group exercise
  • Dance classes
  • Non-professional sports training and matches
  • Leisure centre

The EU Digital COVID Certificate (DCC) is proof (in digital or paper format) that the holder has either:

Certificate-based on vaccination 

This certificate is issued if a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19. If the HSE has a valid email address for that person from the vaccination process – they will get a Digital COVID Certificate by email. Otherwise, they will get their certificate via post.

Certificate-based on recovery 

A certificate of recovery will be available from 11 days after a positive test and will be valid for no more than 180 days after a person has tested positive.

Below is the link to download the government digital covid cert tracker


Full details of the announcement can be found here – gov.ie – Statement on COVID-19 public health measures – 3 December 2021 (www.gov.ie)

Attached further information about:

1)EU Digital COVID Certificate (DCC)

2)GDPR Advice

3)Work Safety Protocol

Infection Prevention Control measures such as physical distancing, cleaning, face coverings, good hand & respiratory hygiene should continue to be adhered to.


Group activities

Organisers of indoor and outdoor group activities should ensure that appropriate protective measures are in place.

Where indoor groups have a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated people, pods of six should apply.

Fixed capacity limits will not apply to these indoor and outdoor group activities.

Physical distancing

The requirement for physical distancing will continue until at least February 2022.


Ireland’s mask mandate will continue for the foreseeable future. People will be required to wear face coverings in indoor settings and on public transport. This does not include when exercising as per the World Health Organisation recommendation:


To view complete government guidance, please click here 

Karl Dunne, CEO of Ireland Active said; “It is disappointing that some restrictions remain. We call on the Government to re-examine the withdrawal and winding down of business and employment supports for business over the coming months as announced in budget 2022”.


Organised indoor group activities (exercise, sports, arts, culture, dance classes) can take place with capacity limits of 100 people (with appropriate protective measures) where all patrons are immune (fully vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 within the previous 6 months), or accompanied minors (under 18).

Where participants have mixed immunity status, pods of up to 6 participants will be permitted (excluding adult leaders/teachers).

Multiple pods will be permissible, subject to protective measures.

The number of pods will have regard to the size of the venue and substantial social distance between individual pods, or 2m distancing between individual participants in classes, well-ventilated spaces etc.

For further information on the current measures, click here.


  • “Outdoor fitness training” in pods of 15 is permitted from 10th May
  • Multiple pods of 15 can be put in place for an outdoor activity once there is sufficient space and there is no mixing of pod members, including coaches.

2nd June

  • Accommodation services, including hotels, B&Bs, self-catering, and hostels, can reopen. Services including leisure facilities, indoor restaurant and bar services must be restricted to overnight guests/residents only. Hotel based gyms and pools can open on 2nd June for guests and residents only.

7th June

  • Gyms, swimming pools, leisure centres can reopen for individual training only.
  • We are currently discussing with the Dept of Sport concerning a timeline for the recommencement of children’s swimming lessons. We have highlighted to the Government that there is a marked difference between children’s swimming lessons and exercise classes.

We have sought clarification around children’s summer camps (indoor activities) and are awaiting further confirmation.

Lifeguard Training

In light of the need for pool lifeguards to ensure that they are sufficiently prepared for the return of swimming participants on the 7th June, and to ensure the safety of participants on their return, the Dept of Sport has confirmed that pool lifeguards can return to the workplace for training and preparation purposes in advance of 7th June.

Water Safety Ireland

Water Safety Ireland has extended their WSI National Pool Lifeguard Award Validity up to the end of August 2021. This will be the final extension of Validity in this COVID-19 period.

This extension of validity is for all WSI. National Pool Lifeguards whose qualifications have expired since the start of the COVID-19 period last March 2020 and who need to revalidate their award at this present time.

All Pool Lifeguards who avail of this extension must revalidate their awards before the end of August 2021. After that date, the full course will need to be repeated.

They must also familiarise themselves with the Lifeguard Basic Life Support BVM online training available at here

The 2020 WSI COVID-19 amended Exam versions must be used for all National Pool Lifeguard Award Exams until further notice. Available here.


The government on Monday announced that from midnight today that Level 5 restrictions will come into place in Ireland. This announcement has significant effects on the industry and effectively means that it will be closed for 6 weeks until 1st December, with a review after 4 weeks


Cavan, Donegal and Monaghan are moving to Level 4. The rest of the country remains at Level 3 but with restrictions on visitors and meeting others outside your home. Read more here

We have received some queries from members on Level 4 and we have asked for further clarity around permitted activities from Sport Ireland and will revert to members as soon as possible when we receive.

The current government guidance on Level 4 can be found here.


Budget 2021

The Budget today provided some measures which will benefit the sector, albeit it does not cover all of our asks in our Budget submission. We await further clarification on some of the measures and will revert to members when we receive more information.

Summary of measures:

  • EWSS to be extended to the end of 2021, with further details to follow
  • Commercial Rates holiday extension to the end of 2020
  • New Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS), will offer temporary sector-specific support to businesses forced to close or trade at significantly reduced levels as a result of restrictions imposed on them in response to Covid-19
  • Tax warehousing extended to include TWSS payments
  • 9% VAT rate for hospitality (as already applies to sports facilities/gym memberships) will benefit our hotel members, further clarity needed what other activities it applies to
  • €36m extra funding to Sport Ireland
  • €7m extra for Large Scale Sport Infrastructure Fund
  • New Sports Capital Scheme announced
  • €9.7m for National Sports Campus development
  • Insurance Reform has been committed to again as part of the programme for government
  • For the self-employed, increasing Earned Income Credit up to €1,650  – the same as the employee tax credit for PAYE workers – from this year, as well as fact that self-employed taxpayers will be able to warehouse their 2020 preliminary tax liability

More information on Budget 2021 here and from DBEI here

Update Regarding Government Medium-term Plan re COVID-19- Level 2 & 3

Ireland is moving from a short-term emergency response approach to a medium-term approach to managing risk and repairing the damage that COVID-19 has inflicted on society. A Framework for Restrictive Measures has been developed to help us to go about our daily lives as much as possible, while managing the behaviour of the virus. On the 18th of September it was announced that Dublin would move into Level 3. Dublin will remain at Level 3 for a period of 3 weeks, until Friday 9 October, at which point the situation will be reviewed by the government, based on the status of the virus and the pertinent public health advice. The measures come into place at midnight tonight (Friday 18th September). The rest of Ireland is currently at Level 2.

Ireland Active have received some clarification from the Expert Group on Return to Sport regarding the application of Level 2 and 3 for the sector, and below are the relevant points. We understand that any move to Level 3 in Dublin will impose significant challenges for businesses and we are here to support our members in this regard.

Training Levels 2 & 3

Level 2 Training

Outdoors: training can take place in pods of up to 15 (exemption for professional/elite/inter-county sports/senior club championship).

Indoors: training, exercise and dance classes can take place in pods of up to 6 inside (exemption for professional/elite/inter-county sports/senior club championship).

Level 3 Training

Outdoors: Non-contact training only in pods of up to 15 (exemption for professional/elite/inter-county sports/senior club championship).

Indoors: Individual training only. No exercise or dance classes.

While not explicitly noted in the Framework an exemption extends for professional/elite/inter-county sports/senior club championship with regards to indoor training)

‘Pod’ System

*Pods (of 6 indoors or 15 outdoors) apply to indoor and outdoor activity at level 2 and outdoor activity at level 3. The pods do not apply to activity indoors at level 3, as individual training only is permitted. No group exercise is permitted indoors in Level 3.

  • Organised Sports training / activity / exercise can do so in multiple pods once sufficient space is available and strict public health protocols are in place.
  • The use of multiple pod’s is to assist with minimising the number of people in a group while acknowledging that some outdoor and indoor facilities have the capacity to cater for larger numbers of people in a safe manner and within public health guidelines. People participating in pod training can be from different households.
  • The number of pods in a given facility or area will depend on the overall size of space available. At present, the overall numbers within an Indoor facility should not exceed 50.
  • The space between pods will depend on the nature, duration and intensity of the session but it should be clearly evident that the pods are independent groups not interacting with one another. At a very minimum Social Distancing of 2m between pods should be implemented.
  • Depending on the frequency of activity (i.e. multiple times in a week) it may be helpful for participants to stay within the same pod.
  • A coach or instructor may oversee more than one pod and should be counted in the overall numbers.
  • The coach should not move freely between pods but rather oversee the activity of the pods.

Gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools

Level 2 Gyms & Exercise: These can open with protective measures, taking account of public health advice, including social distancing. Pod systems can be used to facilitate Group Activity where space is available. Maximum limits for indoor venues will remain at 50 at present.

Level 2 Swimming Pools: These can open with protective measures, taking account of public health advice, including social distancing. Pod systems can be used to facilitate Group Activity and lessons where space is available. Maximum limits for indoor venues will remain at 50 at present.

Level 3: Level 3 allows for individual training only, no organised Group Activity including Exercise classes should take place.

Swimming Lessons: Additional Clarification on whether Swimming Lessons can take place in Level 3 has been sought. In the meantime they should be treated as Group Activity and not take place during Level 3.

Indoor / Outdoor Limits for Sporting Activity

Outdoor: Further clarification on the previous figures of 200 is currently being sought and will be circulated in due course. Until then the previous maximum number of 200 should not be exceeded.

Indoor: Additional work will need to be conducted with the sector on determining indoor figures which take into account the size of the venue and the nature of activities. At present the previous maximum number of 50 should not be exceeded.

Below is an explanatory note with regard to the distinction between group exercise (permitted in Level 2 in pods, but not in Level 3) and individual training (permitted in Level 3)-

Group exercise classes: Choreographed/structured exercise that is done in a group setting, led by a personal trainer or fitness instructor whereby all participants are undertaking the same activity, in the same location for the same duration of time.

Individual training: Individuals attending a gym/studio to take part an exercise programme whereby they use separate equipment in an allocated space that can be supervised with or without a personal trainer.


Framework for Safe Operation- Version 3


View Framework Version 3
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