The country is set to return to Level 5 restrictions under the Government’s plan for living with Covid-19, following a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
The new restrictions will take effect from Christmas Eve until January 12th, 2021 to “aggressively and head on” meet the threat presented by rising Covid-19 cases.
Here are the Level 5 restrictions in full, including “specific adjustments”.
At Level 5, the public health risk means that people are asked to stay at home. There will be no gatherings other than small numbers at funerals and weddings.
Gatherings in a home or garden may take place with up to two other households until December 26th. Visits from one other household will be permitted up to and including December 31st.
From January 1st, no visitors will be allowed in private homes or gardens, except for essential family reasons such as providing care to vulnerable people.
Those living alone can form a support bubble with another household. A support bubble counts as one household.
Organised indoor gatherings such as events in theatres, cinemas, arts events, business events, training events or conferences, should not take place.
Organised outdoor gatherings such as outdoor arts events and training events should also not take place.
Christmas religious services may take place. From December 26th onwards, religious services must move online while places of worship can remain open for private prayer.
For weddings, up to 25 guests can attend a ceremony and reception up to and including January 2nd. From January 3rd, six guests will be permitted.
Funerals can be attended by up to 10 mourners.
Restrictions on domestic travel will be in place, with people asked to stay at home and exercise as close to home as possible.
Travel outside a person’s county is permitted up to and including December 26th. After this date, only those away from their place of residence will be allowed to return.
From December 27th, people must stay within their county aside from essential purposes, such as essential work, medical appointments, attending disability day services, attending court, providing vital family care, attending a wedding or funeral, or visiting a grave.
On public transport, face coverings must be worn, capacity will be limited to 25 per cent, and the service should be used for essential workers and purposes only. School transport is unaffected.
Working from home must take place, unless it is for working in health, social care or other essential service and cannot be done from home.
Schools, early learning and childcare services will remain open in line with advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet).
Higher and adult education will move primarily online, with exemptions for essential onsite activities.
Those aged over 70 and the medically vulnerable should "exercise personal judgement" regarding the extent to which they engage with others and in activities outside home.
It is recommended that they stay at home as much as possible and limit engagement to a very small network for short periods of time while remaining physically distanced.
Nursing and care home visits are suspended aside from “critical and compassionate circumstances.”
Social work and social care services, including disability services, mental health services, child protection and welfare services, domestic, sexual and gender-based violence services and homeless services, are deemed essential and will remain open in line with Nphet advice.
Businesses and services
Museums, galleries and other cultural attractions must all remain closed.
Restaurants and pubs serving food will close at 3pm on December 24th.
Wet pubs, nightclubs, discos and casinos will remain closed.
Hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs may remain open for essential non-social and non-tourist purposes only, with an exception for guests who already have a booking and are due to check in up to and including December 26th. Hotels may provide food and bar services to guests only after 3pm on December 24th.
Retailers can all remain open with the wearing of face coverings. The retail sector is asked to defer January sales events.
Personal services will all close.
No matches or training should take place, with the exception of non-contact training outdoors in pods of up to 15.
There will be no exercise or dance classes.
Training and matches for elite or professional sports may also continue behind closed doors.
Gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools may remain open for individual training only.