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Tuesday 5 December 2023 Dublin: 4°C
leaving level 5

Covid-19: Here's what changes kick in next Tuesday and throughout December

Taoiseach Micheál Martin announced that shops, restaurants, gyms and some pubs will reopen next week, and that its advice is that household visits will be allowed at Christmas.

THE GOVERNMENT CONFIRMED last night that Ireland will move back to Level 3 from Tuesday 1 December – with some modifications. 

Taoiseach Micheál Martin announced that shops, restaurants, gyms and some pubs will reopen next week, and that its advice is that household visits will be allowed at Christmas. 

In a nationwide address yesterday evening, Martin announced the Covid-19 restrictions that will replace Level 5, which has been in force since 22 October.

He said there had been a “massive national effort” to push back the disease and many sacrifices had been made by individuals and businesses.  

Martin said he knows people are “fed up” and he understands that feeling as he outlined the different stages and dates for reopening society. 

From next Tuesday 1 December, retailers, hairdressers, gyms, libraries, galleries and cinemas will reopen. People will be permitted to use tennis courts and golf courses, and religious services will also be allowed to resume.

For religious services, the limit on the number of worshippers under Level 3 has not changed – 50 people at mass, 25 people at funeral and weddings. 

From Friday 4 December, restaurants and pubs with a kitchen on-site are to reopen, but with more restrictions than before. Hotels will also be able to open to indoor diners. 

Pubs that only serve alcohol will not be permitted to reopen before Christmas, but will be allowed to serve takeaway drinks.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar clarified last night that the one hour and 45 minute limit of dining only applies if tables are less than two metres apart. He also said that the €9 substantial meal in gastropubs will remain in place. 

People must continue to stay within their county apart from work, education and other essential purposes during this time until 18 December. 

People should continue to work from home unless absolutely necessary to attend in person, the Government has said.

For more on what restrictions are in place during Level 3, see here

From Friday 18 December, restrictions on household visits will be lifted to allow two households to visit a third. Inter-county travel will also be permitted from this date, until 6 January.

From 7 January, the measures put in place prior to 18 of December will apply, subject to ongoing review of the trajectory of the virus.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar advised people to avoid returning home for Christmas from abroad but all rules regarding movement restrictions should be followed if the travel is necessary for family reasons. 

In addition, the Government has advised that people wear face masks or coverings on “busy streets” and in other settings.

The Taoiseach said the government’s guidance on mask-wearing has had “an incredibly positive impact” and was being expanded. 

“The government is also updating its guidance on masks. In July, we introduced guidance on wearing masks indoors. And this has had an incredibly positive impact,” he said.

We’re now adding to that guidance and, from 1 December, people will be asked to also wear their masks outdoors on busy streets, within crowded indoor workplaces and in places of worship. 

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