Lockdown Ireland 2021: What are the new measures and how long will they last?
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Lockdown Ireland 2021: What are the new measures and how long will they last?

IRELAND has once again been plunged back into lockdown as Covid-19 case numbers across the country continue to rise.

A blend of families mixing over the festive period, as well as the outbreak and rapid spread of a new variant of the virus, has left the Government with little choice but to introduce a number of new public health measures in order to drive the figures down.

On Wednesday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin unveiled the latest raft of Covid-19 restrictions for us all to follow, following a Cabinet meeting earlier this week.

But if you're still unsure about some of the details, we've got you covered:

What Level are we in?

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Ireland is operating under Level 5 of the Living With Covid Plan outlined mid-way through last year. Level 5 is the - currently - the highest level possible, and the country is now in full lockdown.

Unless stated below, all Level 5 rules apply.

Are schools closed?

Yes. While under 'typical' Level 5 rules, schools are supposed to remain open, the Taoiseach announced that schools will remain closed until February 1.

Exceptions are in place, including a provision for all 6th year Leaving Certificate students to attend school for three days a week commencing the week of January 11, and certain provisions for special education and specialised settings.

What about Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE)?

This will remain closed until February 1.

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And Childcare?

Childcare services will remain closed, with exceptions for vulnerable children and children of essential workers.

Construction

All construction will be closed from 6pm, January 8, with limited exceptions for essential cases.

International Travel

Travel to and from the UK and South Africa is currently prohibited, and will be up to midnight on January 8.

From January 9, all passengers arriving at Irish airports and ports whose journey originates in the UK or South Africa will be requested to have evidence of a negative result from a PCR Covid-19 test taken up to 72 hours prior to arrival in Ireland.

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Click and Collect

Click and Collect services from non-essential retail outlets are no longer permitted. Existing order may be collected, but no new orders may be places for collection.

Click and Delivery is still permitted.

Takeaway pints

While the hospitality sector remains closed, takeaway pints will not be allowed, not even if they are drunk outside.

Supports

The Government has agreed to maintain, at current levels, the payments available under both the Employment Wage Support Scheme (EWSS) and the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP). The Government said this will ensure continued support for both employers and workers who lose their jobs due to the impact of Covid-19 restrictions.

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Under the EWSS, a payment of up to €350 per week will continue to be available, and will remain in place until the March 31.

The PUP, available to those who have lost their jobs, including the self-employed, as a result of Covid-19, will continue to be made available at the current pay-related level of up to €350 a week until March 31.