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As part of new nationwide Level 3 restrictions, garda checkpoints will be in place across the country

Coronavirus: The entire country is now in Level 3 - here's what that means

The new restrictions kicked in at midnight.

LEVEL 3 RESTRICTIONS have now kicked in across the whole country as cases of Covid-19 continue to increase.

The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) on Sunday recommended to move the country into Level 5. However, the government rejected the advice on Monday and instead opted to bring the rest of the country in line with Dublin and Donegal at Level 3.

Yesterday, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said the government believes moving to Level 3 is “the best decision”. 

Donnelly said if the government was looking at the situation “purely from a public health perspective” and “needed to consider nothing other than the suppression of the virus”, Level 5 may have been the right path.

“If we didn’t need to consider the entirety of the country, then clearly one could make an argument that says well everyone just needs to go home, close down businesses, don’t leave your house. And obviously, we know that the virus would be suppressed.

But we have to make what we believe is the best decision on behalf of the entire country, that is what we have done.

According to the government, the priority is to keep schools and early learning and childcare services open, and minimise disruption in the workforce.

But what does Level 3 mean for you?

Firstly, the government wants you to stay in your own county – unless it’s for work, education or other essential purposes.

  • If you do need to get around, the advice is to walk or cycle to your destination where possible. Public transport will still be running at 50% capacity, social distancing measures will be in place on the transport, and face coverings are mandatory. 
  • Visitors are only allowed from just one other household to a maximum of 6 people.
  • Schools, creches and childcare services are staying open. So too are playgrounds and parks.
  • If you’re over 70, the advice is that you should “exercise judgement regarding the extent to which you engage with others and in activities outside the home”. It is recommended that you stay at home as much as possible, limit engagement to a very small network for short periods of time, while remaining physically distanced.  
  • Visits to nursing homes are also banned except on critical and compassionate grounds. 

TAOISEACH ADDRESS NATION JB4 Taoiseach Micheál Martin addressing the nation on Monday night Julien Behal Photography Julien Behal Photography

Weddings, funerals and gatherings

All religious services are to be moved online.

However, 25 people will be permitted to attend weddings and funerals. 

Couples resident in a particular county, but with existing plans to marry in a particular location, can travel to get married outside their county.

Speaking on Monday evening, Donnelly said that “unfortunately”, the government was not in a position to extend a grace period to couples who had arranged their weddings under Level 2 guidelines. 

A grace period was extended to weddings in Donegal when it emerged the county was to move to Level 3 last month. On that occasion, the new restrictions were announced on Thursday but weddings scheduled for that weekend could go ahead with 50 guests instead of 25. 

All organised indoor gatherings, including conferences and events in theatres and cinemas, should not take place. 

Organised outdoor gatherings are permitted, up to a maximum of 15 people.


Gyms are permitted to stay open but only for individual training, meaning exercise classes are cancelled. 

Non-contact sports training in pods of up to 15 people is allowed, with strict adherence to the relevant protective measures. There is an exemption to this for professional or elite athletes, for inter-county sports and for senior club championship training.

No matches or other sporting events should take place, with the exception of professional, elite, inter county and senior club championship which should take place behind closed doors.

Camogie chiefs yesterday morning suspended club games at all levels “with immediate effect and until further notice”. This decision – “taken in the interest of public safety” – follows similar moves by the GAA and LGFA earlier this week. 

Horse racing may continue, but behind closed doors.

001 Nationwide Level 3 Gardaí on patrol in a car on Henry Street in Dublin Leon Farrell Leon Farrell

Retail and services

Shops, hairdressers and other services can remain open but face coverings are mandatory and other protective measures must be in place. 

Hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs can stay open, but with services limited to residents.

The government advice for different sections can be found below: 

Pubs and restaurants

Taoiseach Micheál Martin announced that all indoor dining in pubs and restaurants will be banned across the country under the Level 3 restrictions that are now in place.

Outdoor seating and service will be allowed outside restaurants and wet pubs.

However, wet pubs (those which don’t serve food) will remain closed in Dublin.

Nightclubs and casinos remain closed. 

Garda enforcement 

There will be fixed garda checkpoints at 132 arterial roads across the country under Operation Fanacht. 

However, at a press conference yesterday afternoon, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said that the gardaí will not have any new powers to restrict people’s movements.

“People will not be able to travel around the country. You will be restricted to your county, you should only go to your workplace if absolutely necessary, otherwise your journeys are going to be extremely difficult,” Harris said. 

On RTÉ News at One yesterday, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said that under Level 3 it will be an offence to organise an event, and that other pre-existing legislation will support garda policing efforts. 

McEntee said that the garda approach will continue to be “engage, educate, encourage, and enforce”. 

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