There will be no gatherings allowed before December 18th.
Until then, the public has been asked to adhere to a new set of ‘Level 3-ish’ Covid-19 restrictions after the Level 5 lockdown is lifted on December 1st.
In his much-anticipated TV address this evening, An Taoiseach Michéal Martin unveiled a raft of updated guidance designed to allow some businesses and services to reopen for the Christmas period following a “mentally exhausting” six weeks of closure.
“It has not been easy, people and businesses have made huge sacrifices and many people are fed up. I understand that feeling and very often I share it,” the Taoiseach said.
“This virus has killed more than 3,000 people on this island. That is a terrible toll.”
The measures were approved by the Cabinet following lengthy discussions today, as a further seven deaths and 206 new cases of coronavirus were confirmed across the country, 18 of which are in Cork.
Here are the key points announced tonight:
- Travel: The 5km from home rule will be lifted on December 1st, but travel will remain limited to within your home county until December 18th when the restrictions will be relaxed to allow for Christmas visiting.
- Masks: The public is asked to wear masks outdoors on busy streets as well as indoors over the Christmas period.
- Work from Home: Continue to work from home until further notice.
- Household visits: After December 18th, visitors from two other households will be allowed to visit your home. This rule will remain in place until early January. When visiting someone’s home, guests are advised to avoid physical contact (so no hugging or handshakes). The advice is to wear a mask when cooking for other people and to ensure that windows are left open to allow fresh air to circulate indoors.
- Shops and hair salons: All retail stores and salon services will be permitted to reopen from Tuesday, December 1st.
- Gyms: If you’re looking forward to weights sesh or two in the coming weeks, Ireland’s gyms will reopen on December 1st.
- Restaurants and gastro pubs: All restaurants and pubs that serve food will be permitted to reopen for indoor dining from Friday, December 4th. Strict social distancing guidelines demand that customers must be well separated and spend only a short amount of time on the premises – full guidelines available now here.
- Pubs (‘wet pubs’): Unless they have a kitchen and a proper menu, the doors of your local pub will sadly remain closed until 2021. Takeaway pints are still permitted.
- Museums and libraries: Cultural institutions can reopen from Tuesday, December 1st.
- Places of worship: Churches and other places of worship will reopen on Tuesday, December 1st.
- Sports: Outdoors sports such as golf and tennis can resume from Tuesday, December 1st.
The restrictions will be reviewed again before December 18th, when clear guidance will be issued for the Christmas holiday period.