NEW RESTRICTIONS to curb the spread of Covid-19 in Ireland are to be implemented from tomorrow, Tuesday 7 December.
The restrictions were announced on Friday evening by Taoiseach Micheál Martin in an address to the nation.
He said his message was a difficult one, but that advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team was stark, leading to the reintroduction of some restrictions.
Here's everything you need to know about the new rules.
Bars and restaurants
Strict social distancing will be required in all pubs and restaurants, and some hotels, with restrictions reverting to pre-22 October measures.
- Only table service will be allowed.
- There must be one metre between tables.
- There can be a maximum of six adults per table (maximum 15 persons when including children aged 12 and younger).
- There can be no multiple bookings of tables and no intermingling between tables.
- Masks must be worn when not seated.
- Closing time remains unchanged (midnight closing time for all non-licenced premises)
Indoor entertainment, cultural, community and sporting events
- Maximum 50% capacity at indoor entertainment, cultural, community and sporting events which must be fully seated. This does not include religious or educational events or normal workplace business activity.
- Face masks should be worn at all times unless eating or drinking.
- There will be a requirement for a COVID pass (vaccination or recovery) for access to gyms and leisure centres (excluding access to swimming pools or standalone swimming pool facilities) and hotel bars and restaurants (that is, removing exemption for residents).
- All nightclubs will close.
- There will be no change to weddings or outdoor gatherings.
Visits to private homes
The government has urged people to restrict contacts with other households in the lead up to Christmas.
- Visits should be kept to a maximum of three other households (that is, 4 households in total).
- Recognising the need for flexibility depending on individual circumstances, people should limit their contacts throughout the period.
However, the government recognises that there are specific days and dates (25, 26 and 31 December) in the calendar which are important social and cultural occasions where families will likely choose to come together in larger household numbers.
The Taoiseach also stated some key messages for the public to follow.
The first was for people to get their booster vaccine when they are called, while also continuing to self-isolate if you are experiencing symptoms of Covid-19.
The government is also asking people to reduce the risk of catching the virus by :
- Prioritising close friends and family and being conscious of vulnerable people in social circles.
- Meeting outdoors where possible and opening windows and doors to let fresh air in if meeting indoors.
- Wearing a mask, maintaining social distance and cleaning hands frequently.
- Using antigen tests appropriately.