The Taoiseach has confirmed that the country will move to full Level 5 restrictions in an effort to bring the latest surge in Covid-19 cases under control.
In a live television announcement this evening, Micheál Martin said the new restrictions would remain in place for one month ‘at least’.
This will come into effect at midnight tonight, 30th December for all measures, with the exception of non-essential retail and gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools. These businesses should close from close of business on 31st December.
*Level 5 restrictions will remain in place until midnight on 31st January 2021.
The Government has considered a number of factors in arriving at this decision, particularly NPHET concerns that the epidemiological profile of COVID-19 has continued to deteriorate very substantially.
It is recognised that this decision will have an impact on people’s lives and livelihoods, but the clear message is that we must all now stay at home, with the exception of essential purposes, in order to stop the spread of the virus.
Supports such as the PUP and the CRSS will continue to be made available to those impacted. A double payment of the CRSS, up to a maximum of €5,000 a week will be available to those subject to restrictions this week and next week.
Furthermore, businesses affected will be able to avail of commercial rates relief for the first three months of 2021. The Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) is also available to help maintain people in jobs, along with extensive tax warehousing arrangements, reduced VAT rates, the spend and stay scheme, a range of reduced cost loans, grants and voucher schemes.
The Government further agreed that the ban on air travel and passenger travel on ferries from the UK will be extended to 6th January. As a similar new strain has been identified in South Africa, this ban will also apply to South Africa until 6th January.
Overview of Restrictions:
No visitors are permitted in private homes/gardens (except for essential family reasons such as providing care to children, elderly or vulnerable people, or as part of a support bubble).
No social/family gatherings should take place in other settings.
People may meet with people from one other household in outdoor settings when taking exercise.
Weddings & Funerals
Weddings planned up to and including 2nd January may proceed as planned, up to a maximum of 25 guests. Weddings from 3rd January may proceed, but with a maximum of 6 guests.
Funerals may have up to 10 mourners.
Domestic Travel Restrictions
People will be required to stay at home except for travel for work, education or other essential purposes, and will be permitted to take exercise within 5 km of home.
People away from their place of residence on 31st December will be permitted to return to their place of residence.
Retail & Personal Services
All retail, other than essential retail must close from close of business on 31st December.
All non-essential services remain closed.
Click and Collect services will be available
Work from home unless essential for work which is an essential health, social care or other essential service and cannot be done from home.
Schools, Early Learning & Childcare Services, Higher and Adult Education
Early Learning and Childcare Services open with protective measures.
Schools open from 11th January with further review on precise situation in advance of that date.
Higher, further and adult education should remain primarily online.