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The Level 5 restrictions have just kicked in - here's what they are

Two households can meet outdoors for things like exercise, funerals allowed up to 25 mourners, and fines for breaching the rules.

Image: Leah Farrell via RollingNews.ie

LEVEL 5 RESTRICTIONS have now come into effect across the country.

The Level 5 restrictions will be in place for six weeks, with a review due to be taken after four weeks. All going well, Level 5 restrictions will be lifted on 1 December, when we will likely return to Level 3 restrictions. 

For those that break the Covid-19 guidelines, by doing things such as organising a house party or crossing the county boundary for non-essential reasons – they risk facing a fine.

Here’s what the new Covid-19 rules are for the next six weeks.

Social gatherings: You cannot have visitors to your home – indoors or outdoors.

But – and many people may have missed this as it wasn’t mentioned by Taoiseach Micheál Martin in his speech on Monday – a household can meet with one other household if it is outside, and not at their home.

People who live alone, lone parents and other people at risk of isolation are allowed to develop ‘social bubbles’ – meaning they can link up with a household and form one household unit. There cannot be more than one social bubble per household, however, and you can’t change the household you form a bubble with during the six weeks.

Visits to nursing and care homes are suspended, except in critical and compassionate circumstances. 

Work: People should work from home unless they are essential workers. Some increases to the Pandemic Unemployment Payment and the Employee Wage Subsidy Scheme have been made to help employees whose place of work has been closed for six weeks.

Healthcare: Hospitals are still operating as they had been under Level 3, and are asking people to please attend their appointments over the next six weeks. GPs are also stressing that they are still taking appointments, as they were in Level 3, for non-Covid and Covid care.

Schools: Schools, creches, playgroups and playgrounds will be allowed to stay open. Children can also form pods of 15 for non-contact outdoor training during Level 5. 

Travel and transport: People can travel within 5km of their home for exercise, with a possible threat of fines if these rules are breached. You can only leave your 5km perimeter if it’s for essential reasons. These are: 

  • Travelling to and from work, where work involves providing an essential service
  • To attend medical appointments and collect medicines and other health products
  • For vital family reasons, such as providing care to children, elderly or vulnerable people, and in particular for those who live alone, as part of an extended household but excluding social family visits
  • To attend a wedding or funeral
  • For farming purposes, ie. food production and/or care of animals
  • To visit a grave

Public transport can only be used for essential reasons. Public transport can operate with capacity restricted to 25% with the aim of transporting essential workers to work (it was at 50% under Level 3).

Cocooning: Those aged over 70 and the medically vulnerable are advised to continue to exercise personal judgement, but are advised to stay at home and to limit engagement to a very small network for short periods of time, while remaining physically distanced.

Restaurants, pubs and hotels: There can only be takeaway or food delivery services from cafés, restaurants, bars and pubs – including those in hotels. 

Wet pubs in Dublin remain closed.

Retailers: Only essential retail outlets will be allowed to remain open – if you want a look at what that entails, there’s a comprehensive piece here. If you want a less comprehensive summary, it will be the essential retailers from the first lockdown - supermarkets, newsagents, pharmacies and off-licences – with a couple of additions such as hardware shops, phone shops, bicycle repair shops, dentists and opticians.

Those that aren’t essential retailers/ services include hairdressers and barbers, book and clothes shops, garden centres – and the courts.

Weddings and funerals: 25 people can attend weddings (this includes the bride, groom and celebrant), and 25 people can also attend funerals, though other restrictions apply. You can also travel between counties to attend a wedding. 

Mass and other religious services will be moved online, but places of worship will remain open for individuals to pray.

Sport: Gyms and swimming pools will be closed, while professional and elite sports – such as the GAA championships – will be allowed to continue but without spectators. Individual training can also continue.

Horse-racing and greyhound racing can continue behind closed doors.

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Organised gatherings/events: There can be no indoor or outdoor gatherings. This includes arts events, conferences, theatre shows or cinemas.

All museums and galleries will also be closed, and libraries will be available for online services only. 

With reporting from Hayley Halpin

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