Ireland placed on Level 5 Restrictions of the Plan for Living with COVID – with a number of specific adjustments

December 22, 2020 0

The Government has today agreed that from midnight on 24th December until 12th January, Level 5 restrictions will apply nationally. There will be a number of specific adjustments to Level 5 and, in addition, certain transitional arrangements will apply during the Christmas period.

The Government has considered a number of factors in arriving at this decision, including NPHET concerns at the rapid increase in COVID-19 case numbers over recent days.

These include the nature of social interaction likely to take place over the Christmas period, with additional mixing between younger and older people, and the risk that this could lead to a wave of infection with a higher risk age profile.   

The Government has also considered the economic and social impacts of the re-introduction of Level 5 restrictions. The double rate of Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) will be paid for two weeks to businesses significantly impacted by the restrictions. Furthermore, businesses affected will be able to avail of commercial rates relief for the first three months of 2021. The Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) is also available to help maintain people in jobs, along with extensive tax warehousing arrangements, reduced VAT rates, the spend and stay scheme, a range of reduced cost loans, grants and voucher schemes. In addition, the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment of up to €350 per week will continue to be available to all employees and the self-employed who have lost their job due to the pandemic.

The adjustments to Level 5 are as follows:

  • Non-essential retail may remain open. The retail sector will be requested to defer January sales events.
  • Gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools may remain open for individual training only.
  • Hotels may only open for essential non-social and non-tourist purposes except for guests who already have a booking and are due to check in up to and including the 26th December.
  • You must remain within your county (as opposed to within 5K of your home) apart from travel for work, education or other essential purposes.
  • Non-contact training in pods of up to 15 may take place outdoors.
  • No matches/events should take place except for professional and elite sports, horse racing, greyhound racing and approved equestrian events behind closed doors.
  • Golf and outdoor tennis can continue within county.

The specific transitional arrangements for the Christmas period are as follows:

Hospitality

  • From 3pm on 24th December
    • Restaurants and pubs operating as restaurants will close.
    • Hotels may provide food and bar services to guests only after that point.

Social/Family Gatherings(*)

  • Up to and including 26th December
    • Visits from up to 2 other households will be permitted
  • Up to and including 31st December
    • Visits from one other household will be permitted
  • From 1st January
    • No visitors are permitted in private homes/gardens (except for essential family reasons such as providing care to children, elderly or vulnerable people, or as part of a support bubble).

Travel

  • Travel outside your county will continue to be permitted up to and including 26th December. Those away from their place of residence after that period will be permitted to return to their place of residence. 

Religious Services

  • Christmas religious services may take place but will move online after 25th December when places of worship may remain open for private prayer.

Funerals

  • Up to 10 mourners only permitted at funerals.

Weddings

  • Up to and including 2nd January 2020
    • Weddings can have up to 25 guests.
  • From 3rd January
    • Weddings can have up to 6 guests.

The Government has also agreed that the current restrictions on travel from Britain to Ireland should remain in place until at least 31 December, but kept under constant review in the light of unfolding information and circumstances.