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Thursday 2 February 2023 Dublin: 10°C
# covid19
Here are the new restrictions as Ireland's Covid-19 cases climb
Government has announced additional measures aimed at combating viral spread and protecting the country’s health service.

Screenshot 2021-01-06 at 18.31.00 - Display 2 Department of Health Department of Health

JANUARY IS THE month we all stay at home, said Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, announcing a new raft of restrictions on top of Level 5 measures already in place. 

As Ireland’s Covid-19 surge continues, Government has announced additional measures aimed at combating viral spread and protecting the country’s health service. 

The following measures are in place until 31 January:

Schools will remain closed until 1 February. However, Leaving Certificate students will be able to attend school for three days a week. Special needs classes will also be allowed take place. 

Education Minister Norma Foley said schools will decide locally which days to open each week for Leaving Certificate students. 

Higher and further education will move online, except where a project is essential. This could include laboratory activities or practical work as part of internships. 

Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys TD confirmed that funding for the School Meals Programme will remain in place during the current period of school closures.

Childcare services will remain closed except for services for vulnerable children and children of essential workers.

A household of an essential worker, without an existing childcare arrangement, can also form a bubble with another household for the purpose of providing childcare.

On travel, Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said the current ban on travel from the UK and South Africa will end on Saturday, at which point passengers arriving from these two countries will be required to display a ‘not detected’ PCR test result that they acquired within 72 hours of travelling. 

This will remain in place until 31 January. 

In addition, Ryan said a person arriving into Dublin Airport from Britain or South Africa without a negative PCR test faces a fine of €2,500 or six months imprisonment. 

For construction, all non-essential sites are to close by 6pm Friday. There is, however, exemptions for social housing projects near completion and emergency maintenance projects. For more information, see here

Sole traders like plumbers will be able to work on an emergency call-out basis. 

Following yesterday’s announcement, it has become even tougher for the retail sector

Non-essential retail will no longer be able to operate click-and-collect services, but can continue to operate deliveries. 

This new rule does not apply to supermarkets or other essential retail, like pharmacies. 

Pubs, restaurants and cafés can operate a takeaway or delivery service for food.

Forget about takeaway pints,” said Taoiseach Micheál Martin at last night’s announcement, keen to stress that although takeaway pints aren’t outlawed, they lead to congregation and that the message right now is to “stay at home”, he said. 

By law, pubs and bars can continue to serve alcoholic drinks for consumption at least 100 metres from the licenced premises. 

The above measures will be reviewed on 31 January. Meanwhile, full Level 5 restrictions remain in place.

People must only travel within 5 kilometres of their home for exercise, but are allowed travel outside 5km for work, education or essential purposes. 

The Government has said people should work from home unless providing an essential service, a list of which can be found here

Household visits are banned except for essential family reasons of for people within a support bubble while people are allowed meet up and exercise with one other household in an outdoor setting.

Health officials last night confirmed 7,836 cases of Covid-19 – the highest daily figure since the onset of the pandemic. 

Seventeen more people have died with the disease, brining to 2,299 the number of people who have passed away in Ireland. 

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said the country “is in a serious phase of this surge”.

“There is evidence of an increasing presence of the UK variant in Ireland. All counties have an upward trajectory of the disease. There is concerning escalation of admissions to hospital and ICU. We are very likely to see escalating mortality and ICU admissions in the coming days and weeks,” he said. 

“It has never been more important, throughout our experience of this pandemic, to stay home and only meet people outside of your household for essential purposes, always adhering to public health advice -  physical distance, hand hygiene, cough/sneeze etiquette, wearing a face covering.”

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