Micheál Martin confirms Ireland will enter Level 3 on December 1st
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Micheál Martin confirms Ireland will enter Level 3 on December 1st

TAOISEACH Micheál Martin has confirmed that Ireland will drop down to Level Three of the Living With Covid plan once lockdown ends on December 1.

Level Five restrictions have been implemented in Ireland for five weeks now, and while a move to Level Three is imminent, the easing of restrictions won't simply happen all of a sudden.

It's understood that restrictions will be lifted in two stages, with an initial 'cautious' easing of the rules starting next week, followed by another in the run up to Christmas.

Under Level Three restrictions, pubs and restaurants may only open for outdoor dining and takeaway and delivery services, though it's thought the Government could rethink this.

Cabinet is reportedly undecided over whether or not to fully open the hospitality sector in the run up to the festive season in order to give the industry a much-needed boost, despite Level Three restrictions prohibiting them from opening fully.

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Martin stressed that the Government would be "flexible" with regards to advice given to families and businesses, particularly in relation to Christmas.

He added that "individual behaviour" as well as "our own collective behaviour" was going to be critical in the fight against Covid-19 throughout the festive period.

"What our own data is showing us really is looking back over the summer to the September, October period is that congregation, large crowds gathering, alcohol, events, all of those things coming together proved the cause of a lot of spikes in different parts of the country, we have to try to avoid that again in the future, people need to be aware of that," Martin said.

Cabinet is expected to meet with representatives of NPHET on Tuesday to finalise details of the decision to move to Level Three.