The government has today agreed that from midnight on 24 December until 12 January, Level 5 restrictions will apply nationally. There will be a number of specific adjustments to Level 5 and, in addition, certain transitional arrangements will apply during the Christmas period.
The government has considered a number of factors in arriving at this decision, including NPHET concerns at the rapid increase in COVID-19 case numbers over recent days, the nature of social interaction likely to take place over the Christmas period involving mixing between younger and older people and the risk that this could lead to a wave of infection with a higher risk age profile.
The government has also considered the economic and social impacts of the re-introduction of Level 5 restrictions. A double rate of Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) will be paid for two weeks to businesses that are forced to close as a direct result of government restrictions on 26 December. Commercial rates relief will apply for affected areas for Q1 2021.
The adjustments to Level 5 are as follows:
non-essential retail may remain open. The retail sector will be requested to defer January sales events
gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools may remain open for individual training only
hotels may only open for essential non-social and non-tourist purposes except for guests who already have a booking and are due to check in up to and including 26 December
you must remain within your county (as opposed to within 5km of your home) apart from travel for work, education or other essential purposes
non-contact training in pods of up to 15 may take place outdoors
no matches/events should take place except for professional and elite sports and horse racing and greyhound racing behind closed doors
The specific transitional arrangements for the Christmas period are as follows:
From 3pm on 24 December:
restaurants and pubs operating as restaurants will close
hotels may provide food and bar services to guests only after that point
(*) For those who are part of a support bubble, the bubble counts as one household.
Up to and including 26 December:
visits from up to 2 other households will be permitted
Up to and including 31 December:
visits from one other household will be permitted
From 1 January:
no visitors are permitted in private homes/gardens (except for essential family reasons such as providing care to children, elderly or vulnerable people, or as part of a support bubble)
travel outside your county will continue to be permitted up to and including 26 December. Those away from their place of residence after that period will be permitted to return to their place of residence
Christmas religious services may take place, but will move online after 25 December when places of worship may remain open for private prayer
Up to and including 2 January 2020:
weddings can have up to 25 guests
From 3 January:
weddings can have up to 6 guests
The government has also agreed that the current restrictions on travel from Britain to Ireland should remain in place until at least 31 December, but kept under constant review in the light of unfolding information and circumstances.
Level 5 provisions
up to 6 guests only are permitted at weddings
up to 10 mourners only permitted at funerals
religious services are online but places of worship may open for private prayer
no organised indoor or outdoor gatherings should take place
no matches or sports events are permitted, with exemptions for professional, elite sports and horse racing and greyhound racing behind closed doors
non-contact training can take place outdoors in pods of up to 15 people. Individual training only is permitted indoors. No indoor exercise or dance classes are permitted
hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs are open for those with essential non-social and non-tourist purposes
nightclubs, discos and casinos remain closed
personal services must close
people should continue to work from home unless essential for work which is an essential health, social care or other essential service and cannot be done from home
public transport capacity should be restricted at 25%
outdoor playgrounds, play areas and parks to remain open
LTRC Facilities visiting: suspended, aside from critical and compassionate circumstances
childcare services, early learning and schools remain open
higher, further and adult education should remain primarily online
museums, galleries, libraries and other cultural attractions are closed
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