Cabinet met this morning to decide on renewed Covid-19 restrictions as the number of cases spiral in the lead up to Christmas. The tighter restrictions are to be reviewed on January 12 with a view to extending or tweaking them. Here’s what they mean for household visits, the hospitality sector, shops, religious services and sports.
People will be allowed to have visitors from just one other household from St Stephen’s Day, Saturday December 26. However, no household visits are permitted from Friday January 1 onwards except for essential family reason like caring for children, the elderly or vulnerable people as part of a support bubble.
Restaurants and pubs that serve food have to close from Christmas Eve at 3pm.
So-called ‘wet’ pubs remain closed. Hotels will be closed to non-essential bookings from December 26. Extra financial supports are to be provided for the impacted sectors.
Supermarkets and pharmacies remain open as they have throughout the pandemic. Non-essential retailers like clothing stores are also being allowed to stay open. They must defer the usual January sales. Hairdressers and barbers however, are being closed again after Christmas Eve.
Churches will be open on Christmas Day. Masses and Church services will be online only from December 26. Up to 25 people will be allowed to attend weddings up to and including New Year’s Day. But wedding guests will be limited to six from January 2 onwards.
Non-essential inter-county travel is being banned again from December 26. If people are staying in a different county over Christmas they are allowed stay on at that location, but there must be no new inter-county travel once they return home. The travel ban from Britain- due to the rising case numbers and new strain of the virus there - is being extended to December 31.
Primary and secondary schools are to reopen in January as planned. Third level courses will remain primarily online.
Gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools will remain open for people training on their own. The tough restrictions on team and indoor sports remain in place. Team training should take place outdoors in pods. No matches should are allowed except for elite sports.