Christmas reopening: What we know so far

Here is what we know so far about the Christmas the Republic can expect to celebrate. Photo: PA Images.
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By Digital Desk Staff

Details have begun to emerge surrounding the Christmas the Republic can expect to celebrate come December, in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

As the Government continues to work on a plan for exiting current Level 5 restrictions, the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) has moved its weekly meeting forward to Wednesday, ahead of a Government announcement of a final plan before the weekend.

With the plan still subject to confirmation and change, here is what we know about it so far.

Level 3

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has confirmed Ireland will move to Level 3 on December 1st.

However, it is expected the level will come “with modifications,” as the Government looks at a graduated or phased reopening of the country, according to the Irish Examiner.

Phase 1

Non-essential retail and services, including gyms and hairdressers, may reopen from next week.


Museums, galleries and cinemas may also reopen from next week, according to the Irish Times. There is no agreed path forward for gigs.

Religious services may also resume from next week.

Sporting activities may recommence, namely outdoor sports such as tennis and golf. It is understood the All-Ireland football and hurling finals set to take place next month will be held behind closed doors.

Domestic travel restrictions may be relaxed, with the current five kilometre travel limit lifted to allow people to travel within their own county.

Phase 2

Hospitality businesses such as restaurants may reopen under strict guidelines, though wet pubs seem likely to remain closed unless they have a working kitchen.

Phase 3

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Household visits may be allowed closer to Christmas, though the numbers that may be permitted to gather remain unclear.

Nursing home visit restrictions are expected to be eased as Christmas approaches to allow residents one scheduled visit a week.

Domestic travel restrictions may be further relaxed beyond county borders in order to allow families to gather, though an exact date remains uncertain.

New Year

The loosening of restrictions on hospitality businesses is likely to be reversed after the New Year if a rise in Covid-19 cases is seen, Government ministers have said.

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