Covid-19: Government agrees a move to Level 5 for six weeks

October 19, 2020 0

The Government has decided today that, as of midnight on Wednesday 21st October, all of Ireland will be placed on Level 5 of the Plan for Living with COVID with a small number of exceptions as set out below. This action is based on current public health advice, the deteriorating situation with the disease across the country and the Government’s objectives to support families by keeping schools and childcare facilities open, maintaining non Covid health services and protecting the vulnerable.

living with covidLevel 5 restrictions will remain in place for a period of 6 weeks. Given the difficulties that these restrictions place on individuals and families across the State, the risk of job losses and of poverty and homelessness, the Government has agreed that the moratorium on evictions be reinstated and that Pandemic Unemployment Payment and the Employee Wage Subsidy Scheme be amended to reflect these challenges.

Placing the country at Level 5 Restrictions will have the following implications:

  • People are asked to stay at home. People should work from home unless providing an essential service for which their physical presence is required (see below for essential services).
  • People will be permitted to exercise within a radius of 5 km of their home.
  • There will be a penalty for movement outside 5km of home, with exemptions to this for essential work and essential purposes (see notes to editors).
  • 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.
  • In addition, in recognition of the impact on children and young people of restrictions, non-contact training can continue for school aged children, outdoors in pods of 15. All other training activities should be individual only, with some exemptions, see below.
  • There should be no visits to other people’s homes or gardens.
  • However, there will be the concept of an extended household (or support bubble) for defined categories of individuals to support those at risk of social isolation and/or mental ill-health (see notes to editors).
  • No social/family gatherings should take place, with the exemptions to this for weddings and funerals (see below).
  • It is possible to meet with one other household in an outdoor setting which is not a home or garden, such as a park, including for exercise.
  • There should be no organised indoor or outdoor events.
  • Essential retail and essential services will remain open (see below).
  • Public transport will operate at 25% capacity for the purposes of allowing those providing essential services to get to work [School transport unaffected].
  • In line with current NPHET advice in respect of Level 5, professional, elite sports and inter-county Gaelic games, horse-racing and greyhound racing can continue behind closed doors.
  • Bars, cafes, restaurants and wet pubs may provide take-away and delivery services only. Wet pubs in Dublin remain closed.
  • Hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs may remain open, but only to support provision of essential services.
  • Those aged over 70 and the medically vulnerable are advised to continue to exercise personal judgement. It is recommended that they stay at home as much as possible, limit engagement to a very small network for short periods of time, while remaining physically distanced. When taking exercise outdoors, it is important to maintain 2 metres distance from others and wash hands on returning home. It is recommended to shop during designated hours only, while wearing a face covering, and to avoid public transport.
  • Religious services will be available online.
  • Museums, galleries and other cultural attractions will remain closed.
  • Libraries will be available for online services only.
  • Outdoor playgrounds, play areas and parks will remain open with protective measures.
  • Visits to Long Term Residential Care facilities are suspended with the exception of visits required for critical and compassionate circumstances

Essential purposes for travel (permitted outside 5k limit)

  • Travel to and from work, where work involves providing an essential service (see below)
  • 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 i.e. food production and/or care of animals
  • To visit a grave
  • Exemptions for weddings (irrespective of venue): Up to 25 guests for wedding ceremony and reception.
  • Exemption for funerals: Up to 10 mourners.

Sports/Training/Matches

No training or matches should take place, with the exception of professional, elite sports and inter-county Gaelic games, horse-racing and greyhound racing, which are being permitted to continue behind closed doors.

Extended Household Concept

In order to support those who risk isolation, such as single adult households and those who have shared parenting or shared custody arrangements; those living alone who have mental health challenges, or those living with partner with dementia for example, it will be possible for those in such circumstances to nominate one other household with whom they can mix. This will allow for social support beyond the caring exemptions already available.

Amendments to PUP and EWSS

We know the move to Level 5 will have a significant impact on businesses – we know many people will temporarily lose their jobs on Thursday

As a result of the fact that businesses have to close we are making changes to the PUP and the EWSS
The new payment structure for the PUP is as follows, with the rate of €350 restored to those who were earning in excess of €400 per week:

Prior Weekly Earnings (Gross) PUP Payment
< €200                      €203
€200 – €299.99     €250

€300 – €399.99       €300

> €400                      €350

This change to payment rates will apply for payments issued from Tuesday 27th October (PUP is paid weekly on a Tuesday) in respect of all existing and new applicants.

The EWSS is also being amended to align with the amendment to PUP. This means here will be 5 payment rates/bands as follows:

f) 0 – €151 = €0
g) >€151 < €203 = €203
h) >€203 < €300 = €250
i) >€300 < €400 = €300
j) >€400< €1,462 = €350

The main aim of this scheme is to ensure where possible employees retain their link with their employer rather than become unemployed. This revised scheme will run to end January 2021.

Essential Retail Outlets

Retailers with mixed retail offering which have discrete spaces for essential and non-essential retail should make arrangements for the separation of relevant areas.

  • Outlets selling food or beverages on a takeaway basis, or newspapers, whether on a retail or wholesale basis and whether in a non-specialised or specialised outlet.
  • Markets that, wholly or principally, offer food for sale.
  • Outlets selling products necessary for the essential upkeep and functioning of places of residence and businesses, whether on a retail or wholesale basis.
  • Pharmacies, chemists and retailers or wholesalers providing pharmaceuticals or pharmaceutical or dispensing services, whether on a retail or wholesale basis.
  • Outlets selling health, medical or orthopaedic goods in a specialised outlet, whether on a retail or wholesale basis.
  • Fuel service stations and heating fuel providers.
  • Outlets selling essential items for the health and welfare of animals (including animal feed and veterinary medicinal products, pet food, animal bedding and animal supplies), whether on a retail or wholesale basis.
  • Laundries and drycleaners.
  • Banks, post offices and credit unions.
  • Outlets selling safety supplies (including work-wear apparel, footwear and personal protective equipment), whether on a retail or wholesale basis.
  • Hardware outlets, builders’ merchants and outlets that provide, whether on a retail or wholesale basis
    • hardware products necessary for home and business maintenance or construction and development,
    • sanitation and farm equipment, or
    • supplies and tools essential for farming or agriculture purposes.
  • Outlets providing for the repair and maintenance of mechanically propelled vehicles or bicycles and any related facilities (including tyre sales and repairs).
  • The following outlets, insofar as they offer services on an emergency basis only:
    • Optician and optometrist outlets.
    • Outlets providing hearing test services or selling hearing aids and appliances.
    • Outlets selling office products and services for businesses or for relevant persons working from their respective places of residence, whether on a retail or wholesale basis.
    • Outlets providing electrical, information and communications technology and telephone sales, repair and maintenance services for places of residence and businesses.
  • Any other retail outlet that operates an online or other remote system of ordering goods for purposes of collection at the retail outlet.
  • Outlets selling food or beverages whether on a retail or wholesale basis and whether in a non-specialised or specialised outlet –
    • insofar as they sell food or beverages on a takeaway basis or for consumption off the premises,
    • insofar as they are staff canteens operating for the exclusive use of persons working in, or at, a particular premises, or
    • subject to paragraph 8 of Part 2, hotels or similar accommodation services insofar as they sell food or beverages for consumption on the premises by residents of the service.

Essential Services

Physical attendance at workplaces is only permitted for those providing the following services where such services can only be provided in person and cannot be delivered remotely. It does not include administrative and other support for such businesses and services unless specified in section 13 and the physical presence of a worker is required.

Agriculture, horticulture, forestry, fishing, animal welfare and related services

The following services relating to agriculture, horticulture, forestry, fishing, animal welfare and related services:

  • farming;
  • farm labour;
  • farm relief services;
  • crop and animal production;
  • fishing for commercial purposes;
  • aquaculture and fish farming;
  • horticulture;
  • forestry;
  • veterinary, animal welfare and related services;
  • marts held online only;
  • the provision of support services relating to any of the services specified in subparagraphs (a) to (j) (including artificial insemination and animal disposal).

Manufacturing

The following services relating to manufacturing:

  • the manufacture, production or processing of food and beverage products;
  • the manufacture, production or processing of animal feeds;
  • the manufacture of work-wear apparel, personal protective equipment or footwear;
  • the manufacture of wood pulp, paper and paperboard;
  • the operation of sawmills and the processing of wood and cork;
  • the printing and reproduction of newspapers and other media services;
  • the distillation of coke and refined petroleum products;
  • the refining of alumina;
  • the manufacture of chemicals and chemical products;
  • the manufacture of pharmaceutical products and preparations;
  • the manufacture of products necessary for the supply chain of essential services;
  • the manufacture of products necessary for national and international supply chains, other than such supply chains referred to in subparagraph;
  • the manufacture of computers, electronic and optical products (including semi-conductors);
  • the manufacture of electrical equipment, machinery and other equipment (including agricultural and forestry machinery);
  • the manufacture of medical devices or appliances;
  • the manufacture of medicinal, health, dental and other personal hygiene products, equipment, appliances and supplies.

Supply, repair and installation of machinery and equipment

The following services relating to the supply, repair and installation of machinery and equipment:

  • the supply, repair and installation of machinery and equipment (including mechanically propelled vehicles, industrial machinery and equipment) for essential services;
  • the repair of mechanically propelled vehicles or the repair of bicycles and related facilities.

Electricity, gas, water, sewage and waste management

The following services relating to electricity, gas, water, sewage and waste management:

  • the generation, transmission, supply and distribution of electric power;
  • the extraction and distribution of gas and decommissioning activities in relation to offshore gas filed facilities;
  • the collection, treatment and supply of water;
  • the collection, treatment and disposal of sewage or wastewater;
  • the collection of waste, remediation activities and other waste management treatment and disposal activities (including the operation of landfill sites, waste transfer stations, waste processing centres and recycling facilities or waste recovery).

Construction and development

The following services relating to construction and development:

  • construction or development work and the provision of support services relating to construction and development work;
  • the repair, maintenance and construction of road, rail and utility infrastructure;
  • the supply and delivery of maintenance and repair services to businesses and places of residence (including electrical, gas, plumbing, glazing and roofing services).

Wholesale and retail trade

The following services relating to wholesale and retail trade:

  • the operation of essential retail outlets;
  • wholesale and distribution services necessary for ensuring the availability for sale of food, beverages, fuel, medicinal products, medical devices or appliances, other medical or health supplies or products, essential items for the health and welfare of animals, or supplies for the essential upkeep and functioning of a place of residence;
  • the operation of automated teller machines and related services.

Transport, storage and communications

The following services relating to transport, storage and communications:

  • the provision of land transport, including bus, rail and taxi services;
  • road, rail, sea and air freight;
  • the provision of sea and air passenger services;
  • the operation of ports, harbours and airports;
  • the operation of lighthouses;
  • warehousing and support activities (including cargo-handling, postal and courier activities) for the transportation of goods;
  • the control and critical maintenance of the transport infrastructure network (including roads);
  • any service required for the safe provision of a service specified in subparagraphs (a) to (g).

Accommodation and food services

The following services relating to accommodation and food services provision:

  • hotel or similar accommodation services to persons who are guests of those hotels or similar accommodation on the 21st day of October 2020 until the date of their departure;
  • hotel or similar accommodation services to guests travelling for purposes other than social, recreational, cultural or tourist purposes;
  • the operation of hotels or similar accommodation services providing essential accommodation (including accommodation for homeless persons and persons in direct provision, persons who are unable to reside in their usual place of residence due to reasons related to the spread of Covid-19 or otherwise) and related services;
  • food and beverage service activities for supply to a business engaged in an essential service;
  • the provision of food or beverage takeaway or delivery services

Information and communications

  • The following services relating to information and communications:
    the production and publication of newspapers, journals and periodicals and the distribution of those publications, whether in hardcopy or digital format;
  • the production of television and radio programmes, video, sound, digital or other electronic content and the broadcast or publication of the same to the public or a portion of the public;
  • the provision of services necessary to deliver and support wired telecommunication activities and satellite telecommunication activities and other communications activities (including internet and cloud providers);
  • the provision of data centre services and related services.

Financial and legal activities

The following services relating to financial and legal activities:

  • financial, insurance and banking services (including post office and credit union services) provided by a financial services provider;
  • accounting services or audit services;
  • legal services provided by practising barristers or practising solicitors.

Professional, scientific and technical activities

The following services relating to professional, scientific and technical activities:

  • the provision of engineering, technical testing activities and analysis (including the performance of physical, chemical and other analytical testing of materials and products);
  • the provision of scientific research and development services;
  • regulation, inspection and certification services, in accordance with law, of a particular sector by a body created by statute for that purpose.

Rental and leasing activities

The provision of a service for the rental or leasing of mechanically propelled vehicles or bicycles.

Administrative and support activities

The following services relating to administrative and support activities:

  • payroll and payment services necessary for the operation of undertakings and bodies;
  • employment placement and human resources services associated with the recruitment and deployment of workers engaged in the provision of essential services;
  • data processing, website hosting and related activities;
  • security activities to assist in either or both of the following:
    • the delivery of essential services;
    • the securing of premises closed to the public;
  • funeral, burial and related services;
  • business support services (including information and communications technology support and sales, repair and maintenance for information and communications technology and telephones) where such services are necessary to support –
    • any other essential service,
    • a person working from their place of residence where the business concerned is being operated from a place of residence, or
    • a business that is not an essential service, to the extent required to maintain that business in operation or to minimise any delay in the business resuming operation after these Regulations have ceased to be in operation;
  • where such services are necessary to support any other essential service:
    • the cleaning of buildings;
    • industrial cleaning activities;
    • the provision of key third party supports other than those referred to in paragraph (f) provided under contract to a person providing an essential service.
  • essential health and safety training (that cannot be done remotely)

Public administration, emergency services and defence

The following services relating to public administration, emergency services and defence:

  • the performance by the Garda Síochána, including members and civilian staff of the Garda Síochána, of its functions under the Garda Síochána Act 2005 (No. 20 of 2005);
  • public order, rescue and emergency services (including fire, coastguard, lifeboat, mountain rescue and ambulance services);
  • the performance by the Defence Forces of the functions conferred on them by or under any enactment;
  • emergency call answering services;
  • services to enable the administration of justice;
  • prison services and child detention services (including all onsite activities);
  • cyber-security services;
  • the provision of social protection benefits;
  • regulatory processes and certification required to ensure supply chains, safety of food, beverages, medicinal products, medical devices or appliances, other medical or health supplies or products, and general process safety;
  • the operation and maintenance of botanical gardens, parks, forests, nature reserves and playgrounds;
  • activities relating to the management, protection, restoration and conservation of protected species, habitats and designated natural, archaeological and built heritage sites
  • security, care and maintenance of premises, collections and objects under the care and management of the National Cultural Institutions
  • services relating to the deaths and funerals of persons;
  • chaplaincy services;
  • services provided or functions performed by an office holder appointed under any enactment or under the Constitution, or members of either House of the Oireachtas, the European Parliament or a local authority;
  • services provided under the Child Care Act 1991 (No. 17 of 1991);
  • adoption services under the Adoption Act 2010 (No. 21 of 2010);
  • services provided to victims;
  • services, including regulation services, provided by, and activities of, the Central Bank of Ireland, the Investor Compensation Company DAC (otherwise known as the Investor Compensation Company Limited) and the National Treasury Management Agency;
  • any other service provided, or function performed, by a public body (within the meaning of the Data Sharing and Governance Act 2019 (No. 5 of 2019)), where the provision of the service or performance of the function is necessary to support or manage –
    • other essential services, or
    • the response of the State to the spread of Covid-19;
  • Driver Testing Services provided by the Road Safety Authority for the purposes of section 33 of the Road Traffic Act 1961 (No. 24 of 1961) for people involved in the provision of essential services or essential retail outlets;
  • Driving instruction provided by instructors on the Register of Approved Diving instructors, established under Part 3 of the Road Traffic (Driving Instructor Licensing) (No.2) Regulations 2009 (S.I. No. 203 of 2009), where the person receiving instruction has a booking reserved to undergo a test for the purposes of section 33 of the Road Traffic Act 1961 (No. 24 of 1961).
  • NCT for those with existing appointments
  • specific statutory planning system activities, to the extent that they cannot be carried out remotely

Human health and social work activities

The following services relating to human health and social work activities:

  • hospital services;
  • therapy services provided by a member of a designated profession within the meaning of section 3 of the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005 (No. 27 of 2005);
  • services relating to public health, including services relating to –
  • the identification, tracing and contacting of persons who have been in contact with persons who have been diagnosed, or are suspected of having been infected, with Covid-19, and
  • the testing of persons for Covid-19;
  • laboratory services;
  • drug treatment and addiction services;
  • hospice services;
  • pharmacy services;
  • primary care and general and specialist medical practice activities;
  • dental services;
  • blood donation and related services;
  • tissue or organ donation and related services;
  • residential care services (including nursing care, mental health and substance abuse services, services for elderly persons and persons with disabilities) and children’s residential services;
  • homecare, home help and other health services in the community;
  • social work and social care services, (including disability services, mental health services, child protection and welfare services, domestic, sexual and gender-based violence services) and homeless services including homeless outreach services;
  • paramedical, ambulance and pre-hospital care services;
  • services provided by minor injury units;
  • maternity services;
  • health and social work services;
  • food safety and environmental services;
  • regulated childcare services and the care of children for persons providing essential services.

Education

The following services relating to education activities:

  • primary and post primary school;
  • higher and further education, insofar as onsite presence is required and such education activities cannot be held remotely.

Community and voluntary services

The following services relating to community and voluntary services:

  • services not otherwise specified in this Schedule, provided by community and voluntary workers and the Civil Defence, as part of a publicly commissioned service, deployed to assist in the delivery of essential services;
  • volunteer services operating under the local authority emergency management framework in accordance with public health guidance.

Diplomatic missions and consular affairs

  • The provision of services essential to the functioning of diplomatic missions and consular posts in the State.

Check out the 5 levels outlined in the Resilience & Recovery 2020-2021: Plan for Living with Covid-19

The COVID-19 Dashboard provides up-to-date information on the key indicators of COVID-19 in the community.

If YOU or SOMEONE YOU KNOW are struggling and need help check out the local help/support available on our dedicated COVID-19 page.