It will be a December like no other.
While pub meet-ups and work nights out are a thing of Christmases past, the lifting of Level 5 restrictions this week does at least pave the way for families to get together to celebrate one of the most sacred of Irish holidays.
Last night, Taoiseach Michéal Martin announced a series of new measures to guide the country through a precarious festive season, with inter-county travel opening up on December 18th and guests from two households permitted to visit another home from then until early January.
While the latest lockdown has led to a reduction in the 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 people (now 98), health experts have warned that the situation is extremely fragile and a third wave of coronavirus could be even more deadly than the previous two.
Basically, it’s all down to us.
With that in mind, the Government has issued a new set of rules for gathering safely this year:
Plan how you will spend your Christmas Day and who you will be in contact with, keep your guest list short and try to ensure that you limit the contact in the days and weeks beforehand. Remember – every contact counts!
Try to encourage guests to use hand sanitiser or to wash their hands when they arrive at your home or do so when you arrive at someone else’s home
Try to avoid hugs, kisses and handshakes as people arrive, don’t share items like crockery and glassware, avoid sharing food and buffet-style setups, use single-use options when you can.
Give a little extra space
Try to allow extra space at the dinner table – the extra distance between settings will make sure everyone is comfortable and keeps safe. People from the same households should sit together.
In the Kitchen
Remember to wear a mask when cooking and serving food and limit the number of people in the kitchen.
Keep your home and spaces where people are gathering ventilated. Keep windows and doors open where possible. Try and get out for a walk or spend some time in the fresh air.
For updates, visit the Safe Christmas section of Gov.ie.