CONFIRMED: Ireland to return to Level 5 restrictions, with specific exceptions 9 months ago

CONFIRMED: Ireland to return to Level 5 restrictions, with specific exceptions

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the government is working on the assumption that the new variant of Covid-19 is already in Ireland.

The government has confirmed that Ireland is to return to Level 5 restrictions, with specific exceptions.


Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed the news on Tuesday afternoon, after it had previously been suggested that the Cabinet sub-committee on Covid-19 had rejected NPHET proposals to move to Level 5 at a meeting on Monday night.

Martin did, however, announce a series of specific exceptions to the Level 5 measures, including that non-essential retail services will be permitted to remain open, as will gyms and swimming pools for individual training only.

A summary of the restrictions to come into effect can be seen below; the restrictions will be reviewed again on 12 January,

  • Restaurants and gastropubs to close at 3pm on Christmas Eve (services to be provided to hotel guests only after that point)
  • Hairdressers to close on Christmas Eve
  • Inter-county travel will not be permitted after St. Stephen’s Day (26 December). People will be permitted to stay where they are at that point and travel home later, but no new journeys beyond county boundaries beyond that date will be permitted.
  • Household visits to be reduced to visits from one other household from 27 December. No visits between households permitted from 1 January.
  • Hotels to close non-essential bookings from 26 December
  • UK travel ban to remain in effect until 31 December
  • Wedding guests to be reduced from 25 to six from 3 January
  • Worship to move online from 27 December
  • No training or matches should take place, apart from non-contact training in pods of up to 15 outdoors
  • Professional and elite sports permitted to continue, horse-racing and greyhound racing permitted to continue behind closed doors
  • Schools, early learning and childcare services to remain open
  • Higher and adult education to take place primarily online, with exceptions

The measures in full can be seen here.

The return to Level 5 measures comes following an escalation in cases of Covid-19 in recent days.

The increase in the number of cases was described by Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan on Monday evening as “gravely concerning”, while Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, said that Ireland is “clearly now in a third wave of this pandemic”.