Ireland is set to move to full Level 5 restrictions of the Plan for Living with COVID- 19.
At Level 5, the public health risk means that you will be asked to stay at home, except for travel for work, education or other essential purposes, or to take exercise within 5km of home. There will be no gatherings other than small numbers at funerals and weddings.
The restrictions will last until ‘at least’ January 31st 2021.
The restrictions will come into effect at midnight tonight, 30th December for all measures, with the exception of non-essential retail and gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools. These businesses should close from close of business on 31 December. Level 5 restrictions will remain in place until midnight on 31 January 2021.
The government has considered a number of factors in arriving at this decision, particularly NPHET concerns that the epidemiological profile of COVID-19 has continued to deteriorate very substantially.
It is recognised that this decision will have an impact on people’s lives and livelihoods, but the clear message is that we must all now stay at home, with the exception of essential purposes, in order to stop the spread of the virus. Supports such as the PUP and the CRSS will continue to be made available to those impacted. A double payment of the CRSS, up to a maximum of €5,000 a week will be available to those subject to restrictions this week and next week. Furthermore, businesses affected will be able to avail of commercial rates relief for the first three months of 2021. The Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) is also available to help maintain people in jobs, along with extensive tax warehousing arrangements, reduced VAT rates, the spend and stay scheme, a range of reduced cost loans, grants and voucher schemes.
The government further agreed that the ban on air travel and passenger travel on ferries from the UK will be extended to 6 January. As a similar new strain has been identified in South Africa, this ban will also apply to South Africa until 6 January.