Living with Covid-19: the plan in full

A Dublin street in the time of Covid-19. Photo: Niall Carson/PA.

The Government has unveiled its new "Living with Covid-19" plan, setting out how the country will manage the virus over the next seven months.

The Taoiseach has described the new plan as a framework for rapidly managing outbreaks when they occur while restoring more of the economic and community life of the country.

Here is the plan in full.

Alert levels

The "Framework for Restrictive Measures", a graded response to the level of virus circulating in a region, is at the centre of the Government's new plan for living with the virus and consists of five levels.

The entire country has been placed at Level Two until October 4th, with some extra restrictions in place for the capital.

Additional restrictions for the Dublin region are as follows:

  • Gatherings are reduced as no more than two households should meet at any given time, and people should have a maximum of six visitors from one other household to their home. Socialising can continue at indoor or outdoor public venues, but only with people from their own household or one other household, and in groups of no more than six.
  • Pubs and bars not serving food should remain closed beyond September 21st.
  • Higher and third level institutions should consider enhanced protective measures.
  • Travel outside the region should be limited by those living in Dublin, and Dubliners should only meet one other household when outside the county.

Overseas travel

Proposals for a common approach to travel within the EU from the European Commission will be "broadly" supported by the Government, with work underway to finalise an approach.

This traffic light system for countries, depending on their incidence of the virus, will supersede Ireland's current "green list" model and the country's travel advisory will be updated in line with the plan once it has been agreed by the European Union.

Gatherings

The "majority" of areas of the economy and society, including schools, restaurants, pubs and gyms, will remain open at Level Two.

For gatherings in a home or garden, visitors from one other household only or up to six visitors from no more than three other households are permitted.

In other settings, members of different households can continue to meet socially with up to six people indoors or 15 outdoors from no more than three other households.

For weddings, up to 50 guests can attend a ceremony and reception. Religious services can house up to 50 worshipers, while funerals can be attended by up to 50 mourners.

Organised events

Events in theatres, cinemas, music venues or other arts events with a named event organiser, owner or manager are deemed a “controlled environment" and can take place with limited numbers at Level Two.

For indoor gatherings of this type, up to 50 patrons are permitted in groups of no more than six people, with arrangements to ensure no intermingling of groups. For larger venues, up to 100 patrons will be permitted where strict two-metre seated social distancing and one-way controls for entrances and exits can be implemented. For “very large” purpose built event facilities, specific guidance will be developed to take account of size.

For outdoor gatherings, up to 100 patrons will be permitted for the majority of venues. For outdoor stadia or other fixed outdoor venues with a minimum accredited capacity of 5,000, up to 200 patrons will be permitted.

Museums, galleries, bars, cafes, restaurants and wet pubs can open with specified protective measures in place and a maximum number of attendees linked to the capacity of the establishment. Nightclubs, discos and casinos will remain closed.

Sports

Outdoor training can take place at Level Two in pods of up to 15, with exemptions for professional, inter-county and senior club championship teams. Indoor training, including exercise and dance classes, can take place in pods of up to six with the same exemptions.

At matches and events, up to 100 spectators can attend outdoors and 50 indoors. Up to 200 spectators will be permitted for venues with a capacity of at least 5,000.

Gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools can open with protective measures.

Daily life

Working from home should be facilitated if possible at Level Two.

On public transport, face coverings must be worn, capacity must be limited to 50 per cent, and peak hours are reserved for essential workers and purposes only.

Domestic travel has no restrictions in place.

Those aged over 70 and the medically vulnerable should "exercise judgement" regarding the extent to which they engage with others and in activities outside home, with specific guidance set to be provided.

Business and economy

The Pandemic Unemployment Payment will remain open to new entrants or those laid off for a second time until the end of the year.

Key business supports will remain in place until March 31st of next year.

Healthcare

More healthcare hours, community assessment hubs and additional beds in critical care units and hospital wards are among new measures to improve health services during the pandemic.

The flu vaccine will be widely distributed and offered at no cost to all at risk groups including children under 12.

The testing and tracing regime will see several thousand new people hired to staff the system throughout a winter of expected high demand.

Critical cancer services, such as screenings and care, will be supported.

€600 million has been allocated for the 2020 Winter Initiative to ensure that the health service has the capacity and resources to deal with "challenging" coming months.

For mental health, there will be a national plan to increase supports.

Decision-making

The key body providing public health advice to Government will remain the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET).

A new group chaired by the Secretary General of the Taoiseach's Department will coordinate proposals for acting on public health advice, while permanent coordination between Departments will be enhanced.