Level 5 restrictions will remain in place until March 5th.
As part of new rules signed off in Cabinet today, the current Covid-19 containment measures will continue for a further six weeks until hospital admissions return to more manageable levels.
In a public address this evening, An Taoiseach Michéal Martin confirmed that as per the guidelines in place since December, all non-essential retail and services, pubs and restaurants will remain closed until early spring.
“The truth is that there is no easy way through this pandemic or out of it.” the Taoiseach said.
“The number of travellers coming into our country has absolutely collapsed. And we’ve taken a number of decisions today designed to further suppress that number.”
The Cabinet has also agreed on plans to introduce a 14-day mandatory quarantine for passengers who arrive in Ireland without a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) Covid-19 test result.
Passengers arriving from South Africa and Brazil will also be required to quarantine in a designated State-run hotel facility for a fortnight and fines of up to €2,500 could be imposed for breaches. It is understood the quarantine period may be reduced to five days if the passenger provides two negative Covid-19 tests.
An enhanced Garda presence at Irish ports and airports will be put in place to ensure public adherence to the strict travel rules. An Garda Síochána has already issued close to 1,000 fines to people caught flouting the law.
Holidaymakers returning from foreign trips may also be fined up to €500 for breaching the 5km travel regulations by travelling to and from the airport as part of a non-essential travel crackdown.
Holidays ‘a violation of Level 5 regulations’
Speaking to the media as he arrived at Government buildings this morning, An Taoiseach Michéal Martin said that, while travel has been greatly curtailed during the latest lockdown, tighter travel measures are still required.
“Travellers are coming down very significantly. It’s down to quite low levels now in the last weekend.” the Taoiseach said.
“The majority would appear to be Irish people who went to went on holidays during the Christmas period … we need to clamp down on that.
“That is in itself a violation of the Level 5 regulations that we have in place.”