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Indoor events to end at 8pm and reduced capacity for concerts, cinema and sporting events from Monday

Taoiseach Micheál Martin announced a number of new Covid restrictions this evening.

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THE GOVERNMENT HAS announced a number of new Covid-19 restrictions in an effort to curb the spread of the Omicron variant of the virus ahead of Christmas.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed this evening that a limit on the number of people allowed to attend live indoor and outdoor events has been advised by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET).

Cabinet has agreed that from Monday 20 December, indoor cultural, entertainment, community and sporting events will be limited to 50% of venue capacity or 1,000 people, whichever is lower.

This includes visits to the cinema and the theatre, as well as attendance at indoor community events. All indoor events must end at 8pm, and attendees must all be fully seated while masks must be worn at all times.

Attendance at outdoor events, including sporting events, will be limited to 50% or a maximum of 5,000 people, whichever is lower.

Cabinet has also agreed that a maximum of 100 people can attend wedding receptions, which must end at midnight.

The new restrictions will remain in place until Sunday 30 January, when they will be reviewed.

This afternoon, Cabinet rejected advice from NPHET on introducing a 5pm curfew for pubs and restaurants.

Instead, a closing time of 8pm has been imposed for all indoor hospitality, which will remain in place over the coming weeks.

A maximum of six people per table remain allowed in all bars, restaurants and hotels, with table service only, no multiple booking and strict social distancing measures in place.

There are no changes to the numbers allowed for household visits. These should be limited to four households, including your own, at one time.

“Everything that can be done to get the booster into people’s arms is being done,” the Taoiseach said. 

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“The news will be deeply disappointing for many. It is not the news I wanted to bring you, nor is it the news you wanted to hear.

“However, and this is important: the truth is that we’re in a much better place than we were last year. This Christmas, please be safe and look after each other,” the Taoiseach stated.

There were 3,628 new cases of Covid-19 confirmed in Ireland this evening. There are 420 people in hospital with the virus, including 105 who are in intensive care.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said 35% of cases were now of the Omicron variant, up from 27% yesterday.

About the author:

Jane Moore

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