Taoiseach confirms move to Level 3 on December 1st

ireland
Taoiseach Confirms Move To Level 3 On December 1St
Taoiseach Michéal Martin confirmed the measures this evening. Photo: Julien Behal
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Taoiseach Micheál Martin has confirmed that Ireland will move to Level 3 with 'some modifications' of the Government's Living with Covid plan from December 1st.

Until December 18th, people are being asked to stay within their county and continue not to mix with other households, unless they are part of your support bubble.

From December 1st, up to six people from a maximum of two households can meet in outdoor settings away from homes or gardens, maintaining strict social distancing measures.

Following December 18th, restrictions will be eased to allow travel outside the county and for household visits with people from two other households. These eased restrictions will remain in place until January 6th.

Retail shops may reopen from Tuesday.

Places of worships will also be permitted to reopen from December 1st with up to 50 people, in addition to museums, galleries and cinemas, with increased measures.

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On December 4th, restaurants, gastro-pubs and hotels may reopen for indoor dining, but 'wet pubs'  which do not serve food will have to remain closed, excluding delivery and take-away services.

Mr Martin ensured owners of wet pubs will be provided with additional supports to help them into the new year.

The guidance on face masks will also change, with the public being asked to wear face coverings in outdoor settings from December 1st, including workplaces, places of worship and on busy streets.

Weddings may proceed to go ahead with up to 25 guests, but guests cannot leave their own county to attend a wedding. Couple who are due to get married outside their country can go ahead with their plans. Funerals may be attended by up to 25 mourners.

Other organised indoor gatherings, with a named event organiser, owner or manager, should not go ahead, but organised outdoor gatherings may take place with a maximum of 15 people in attendance.

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CEO of the Licensed Vintners Association Donall O'Keefe has said may pubs owners will be disappointed with the updated measures, with no reopening date in sight for those which do not serve food.

However, Mr O'Keefe welcomed the Taoiseach's assurance that business owners would be supported through the coming weeks and months.

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The Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) added that the decision to divide the hospitality sector in the reopening was a " stunning act of Government hypocrisy", leaving 22,000 worker on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment for the Christmas period with "no prospect of returning to work in the New Year".

In contrast, sectors which will be permitted to reopen have welcomed the announcement, with the Irish Hairdressers Federation saying the news will relieve their members, customers and staff.

Commenting on the announcement, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said the Government had to "strike a balance" in deciding what areas of the economy to reopen, adding they "made the right call" in allowing families to meet over the Christmas period.

Ms McDonald said she understood that some businesses and workers within the hospitality sector would be disappointed with the new measures, but she looked forward to hearing the details of the supports which will be rolled out to assist impacted businesses.

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