EXPLAINED: What are the new Level 5 Covid-19 restrictions in place until April 5?
Taoiseach Micheal Martin announced an extension to Level 5 Covid-19 restrictions with some changes on Tuesday evening, February 23. Here is your guide to the changes and all of the restrictions in place until April 5.
Schools and higher and adult education
The phased return of in-school education and childcare services will be implemented as follows:
1 March 2021: special schools to resume at 100% capacity; the first four classes at primary level, that is, Junior and Senior infants, First and Second class to return to in-school education; final year Leaving Certificate classes to return to in-school education
8 March 2021: resumption of the ECCE Programme and return of ECCE-age children
15 March 2021: targeted return of 3rd; 4th; 5th and 6th class at primary level. 5th years at post-primary level
29 March 2021: resumption of all other early learning and childcare services
12 April 2021 onwards (post Easter Holidays): reopening for 1st to 4th years at post-primary
Higher and adult education
Higher, further and adult education should remain primarily online.
The staggered resumption of early learning and childcare services will take place over the following phases: resumption of the ECCE programme and return of ECCE-age children from 8 March; resumption of all other early learning and childcare services from 29 March; the resumption of the ECCE programme from 8 March broadly aligns with the resumption of onsite primary schooling. It is also in line with expectation among providers and offers sufficient time for providers to prepare to reopen
Construction is closed, with the following exceptions: essential health and related projects including those relevant to preventing, limiting, minimising or slowing the spread of COVID-19; social housing projects, including voids, designated as essential sites by Local Authorities based on set criteria; housing adaptation grants where the homeowner is agreeable to adaptions being undertaken in their home; repair, maintenance and construction of critical transport and utility infrastructure
education facilities sites designated as essential by Department of Education; supply and delivery of essential or emergency maintenance and repair services to businesses and places of residence (including electrical, gas, oil, plumbing, glazing and roofing services) on an emergency call-out basis; certain large construction projects in the exporting / FDI sector based on set criteria; in relation to private homes that are practically complete and scheduled for habitation by 31 January 2021, including where snagging, and essential remediation work, such as pyrite works is nearing completion, works should continue to enable homeowners access their homes. Heating, water, broadband and electricity installation should also continue to enable homes be occupied; existing tenancy protections mean that a tenant cannot be evicted from their home during the period of the 5km travel restrictions. To enable a limited functioning of the housing and residential tenancy market during this time it has also been agreed that online viewings will be the default approach to viewing property for rental or sale, with a physical viewing only permissible at the point where a tenancy agreement is being entered into or where a contract for sale has been drawn up. This approach balances the need to avoid social interaction with the need to provide a pathway to tenancy and home ownership for those who need it
Retail and services (for example: hairdressers, beauticians, barbers)
Face coverings must be worn.
All retail is closed except for essential retail.
All non-essential services are closed.Click and collect
Click and collect from non-essential retail outlets should be discontinued with immediate effect.
Existing orders may be collected.
Click and deliver will continue to be permitted.
Social and family gatherings
In your home or garden
No visitors are permitted in private homes or gardens except for essential family reasons such as providing care to children, elderly or vulnerable people, or as part of a support bubble.
Other settings outside your home or garden
No social or family gatherings should take place in other settings.
Up to 6 guests are permitted.
Organised indoor gatherings
These are controlled environments with a named event organiser, owner or manager.
For example: business, training events, conferences, events in theatres and cinemas or other arts events (excluding sport).
No organised indoor gatherings should take place.
Organised outdoor gatherings
These are controlled environments with a named event organiser, owner or manager. For example: outdoor arts events, training events.
No organised outdoor gatherings should take place.
Exercise and sporting events
People may meet with people from one other household in outdoor settings when taking exercise.
No indoor or outdoor exercise group activities, including those involving children, should take place.
Outdoor golf and tennis are not permitted.
Individual training only. No exercise or dance classes. No indoor or outdoor gatherings involving “individual training” except for professional and elite sports.
Matches and events
Professional, elite sports, horse racing, greyhound racing and approved equestrian events only are permitted to continue behind closed doors.
No other matches or events are to take place.
Gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools
Gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools are closed.
Services will be held online.
Places of worship remain open for private prayer.
Attendance at funerals (limited to 10)
Priority has to be given to families themselves in attending funerals, whether this is in the homes of the deceased or in the Funeral Home.
Likewise attendance in churches and graveyards is restricted to families.
In this third wave we now sadly see a significant increase in the numbers of funerals. Concerns are being raised regarding the dangers of dropping our guard at funerals when we are at this critical time in trying to level off the deadly curve. Reports of significant numbers of people congregating in homes of bereaved persons and in funeral homes, or at churches and graveyards before or after services, are very concerning.
The inclement weather we have at this time of year can result in those lining funeral routes at times congregating in doorways of churches and other areas along the route to seek shelter. Every contact increases the risk of transmission of this highly contagious virus.
Those wishing to express their condolence should do so through social media, online websites, text or card.
It is vital, despite our natural emotions and desire to be close to and hug other people, to respect the situation we find ourselves in as we try to convey our sympathies to bereaved families. It is important to remember our objective – to reduce the spread of the virus - and that we should all do what is right, even if it is different and difficult.
Museums, galleries and other cultural attractions
All venues closed.
Online services available.
Bars, cafes and restaurants (including hotel restaurants and bars)
Take away food and delivery only.
Nightclubs, discos, casinos
Nightclubs, discos and casinos will remain closed.
Hotels and accommodation
Open only for essential non-social and non-tourist purposes.
Work from home unless essential for work, which is an essential health, social care or other essential service and cannot be done from home.
People are required to stay at home except for travel for work, education or other essential purposes, and will be permitted to take exercise within 5km of home.
You can travel for the following reasons:
travel to and from work, where work involves providing an essential service
teachers, SNAs and other school staff will be allowed to travel to school to facilitate distance learning
to attend medical appointments and collect medicines and other health products
travel to attend disability day services
travel to attend a court
for vital family reasons, such as providing care to children, elderly or vulnerable people, and in particular for those who live alone, but excluding social family visits
for food shopping
for farming purposes (food production or care of animals)
to attend a wedding or funeral
to visit a grave
See information on travelling to Ireland during the COVID-19 pandemic on gov.ie
Outdoor playgrounds, play areas and parks
Open with protective measures in place.
Face coverings must be worn.
Walk or cycle where possible.
Avoid public transport - except for essential workers and essential purposes only.
Public transport capacity will be restricted to 25%.
Over 70 and medically vulnerable individuals
Those aged over 70 years and over and the medically vulnerable should exercise judgement regarding the extent to which they engage with others and in activities outside home.
Visiting long-term residential care facilities (nursing and care homes)
Suspended, aside from critical and compassionate circumstances.