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'Level 5 with modifications': Here's when the new restrictions kick in over the Christmas and New Year period

Ireland will return to Level 5 restrictions – with some adjustments.

A sign relating to tickets for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day masses outside Our Lady Mother of Divine Grace church in Raheny, Dublin.
A sign relating to tickets for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day masses outside Our Lady Mother of Divine Grace church in Raheny, Dublin.
Image: Brian Lawless/PA Wire/PA Images

TAOISEACH MICHEÁL MARTIN today announced new Covid-19 restrictions – with different measures kicking in on various dates.

Rolling restrictions will start coming into effect from 24 December onwards and last until at least 12 January.

The government is introducing tougher restrictions earlier than planned after a spike in Covid-19 cases in recent days.

In a national address just three days out from Christmas, the Taoiseach said the government had decided to meet the renewed threat from the virus “aggressively and head on”.

He said Ireland will return to Level 5 restrictions – with some adjustments – and there will be some new restrictions before the New Year.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said the new measures may last for the first two months of 2021.

Under Level 5, there will be no gatherings of any kind other than small funerals (up to 10 mourners) and weddings (25 guests until 2 January; down to six people from 3 January).

Hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs may remain open, but only for essential non-social and non-tourist purposes. An exception to this is guests who already have a booking and are due to check in up to and including 26 December.

Visiting long-term residential care facilities (such as nursing and care homes) is suspended, with the exception of visits required for critical and compassionate circumstances.

Public transport will operate at 25% capacity for the purposes of allowing people providing essential services to get to work; face coverings must be worn at all times.

In terms of sport and exercise, outdoor golf and tennis are permitted.

No training or matches should take place, with the following exceptions:

  • non-contact training in pods of up to 15 people may take place outdoors
  • professional, elite sports, horse-racing and greyhound racing are permitted to continue behind closed doors

Gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools may remain open for individual training only.

In line with current NPHET advice in respect of Level 5, schools, early learning and childcare services will continue to remain open and are deemed essential.

Higher and adult education will continue to operate primarily online with exemptions for essential onsite activities.

Here’s a breakdown of what’s happening and when:

Christmas Eve

Restaurants and pubs serving food will close at 3pm on 24 December until further notice. Hotels can serve food to non-guests until 3pm on this date.

Hairdressers and barbers will also close on Christmas Eve.

St Stephen’s Day

Worship will move back online on 26 December.

27 December

Household visits will reduce from two households to one on 27 December.

Inter-county travel will also be restricted from 27 December, though people who have already left their county can remain in another county until they are due to return home.

Hotels can only provide food to guests from this date onwards. 

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1 January

No household or garden visits will be permitted.

Retail outlets can remain open but no January sales are permitted in a bid to avoid large crowds gathering.

3 January

The number of people who can attend a wedding will reduce from 25 to just six from 3 January onwards.

You can read the full list of restrictions here.

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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