Ireland is effectively going back into lockdown from midnight tonight.
Taoiseach Michéal Martin announced on October 19 that the entire Republic of Ireland will enter Level 5 restrictions under the government's Framework for Restrictive Measures.
Level 5 comes into effect at midnight tonight, Wednesday, October 21, and will remain in place for at least six weeks, until December 1.
Level 5 features the most severe restrictions of the tiered system that was introduced by the Irish government in September. When the Framework was first rolled out, the entire country was placed on Level 2, with some further restrictions placed on Co Dublin.
Co Dublin was soon thereafter elevated to Level 3, as was Co Donegal. On October 5, the remainder of the country was elevated to Level 3. On October 14, Counties Donegal, Cavan, and Monaghan were elevated to Level 4.
Now, from midnight on Wednesday night, the entire country will be on Level 5.
On Tuesday, the Irish government announced that further enforcement powers for breaches of COVID-19 regulations were also coming into effect. Currently, sanctions of a fine up to €2,500 and/or six months imprisonment can apply under the 1947 Health Act. The new amendments will introduce a system of tiered fines, including fixed penalty notices which can be set up to €500.
According to the Irish government, at Level 5, the public health risk means that people will be asked to stay at home, with certain exceptions. There will be no gatherings other than small numbers at funerals and weddings.
Here are all of the restrictions that come into effect tonight at midnight as part of Level 5 in the Republic of Ireland:
Social and family gatherings
If you live alone - you can form a support bubble with another household. Read more here.
In your home or garden:
- No visitors to home or garden, with the exception of visits for essential purposes (for example: 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:
- It is possible to meet with 1 other household in an outdoor setting which is not a home or garden, such as a park, including for exercise.
No other social or family gatherings should take place.
Up to 25 guests can attend a wedding ceremony and reception, whether indoors or outdoors.
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
Training and matches:
No training or matches should take place, with the following exceptions:
- non-contact training can continue for school aged children, outdoors in pods of 15
- professional, elite sports and senior inter-county Gaelic games, horse-racing and greyhound racing are permitted to continue behind closed doors
All other training activities should be individual only.
No exercise or dance classes are permitted.
Gyms/leisure centres/swimming pools closed.
Services will be held online.
Up to 25 mourners can attend.
Museums, galleries and other cultural attractions
All venues closed.
Libraries will be available for online services only.
Bars, cafes and restaurants (including hotel restaurants and bars)
Take away food or delivery only.
Take away or delivery only.
Wet pubs in Dublin remain closed.
Nightclubs, discos and casinos will remain closed.
Hotels and accommodation
Hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs may remain open, but only to support provision of essential services.
Retail and services (for example: hairdressers, beauticians, barbers)
Face coverings must be worn.
All other retail and personal services are closed.
You should work from home unless you are providing an essential service for which your physical presence is required.
Domestic travel restrictions
Stay at home.
Exercise within 5 kilometres of home.
There will be a penalty for movement outside 5 kilometres of home, with the following exceptions:
- travel to and from work, where work involves providing an essential service
- to attend medical appointments and collect medicines and other health products
- travel to attend disability day services
- for food shopping
- to take school aged children to permitted training as provided for in the Exercise and Sporting section above
- 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 farming purposes, that is food production or care of animals
- to attend a wedding or funeral
- to visit a grave
Schools and creches
In line with current NPHET advice in respect of Level 5, schools, early learning and childcare services will continue to remain open and are deemed essential.
Higher and adult education
Primarily online with exemptions for essential onsite activities.
Outdoor playgrounds, play areas and parks
Open with protective measures in place.
Face coverings must be worn.
Walk or cycle where possible.
Public transport will operate at 25% capacity for the purposes of allowing those providing essential services to get to work.
School transport is unaffected.
Social work and care services
In line with NPHET advice on Level 5, social work and social care services, (including disability services, mental health services, child protection and welfare services, domestic, sexual and gender-based violence services) and homeless services including homeless outreach services will remain open and are deemed essential.
Over 70 and medically vulnerable individuals
Those aged over 70 and the medically vulnerable are advised to continue to exercise personal judgement.
It is recommended that they stay at home as much as possible, limit engagement to a very small network for short periods of time, while remaining physically distanced.
When taking exercise outdoors, it is important to maintain 2 metres distance from others and wash hands on returning home.
It is recommended to shop during designated hours only, while wearing a face covering, and to avoid public transport.
Visiting long-term residential care facilities (nursing and care homes)
Suspended, with the exception of visits required for critical and compassionate circumstances.