Today, April 12, the Republic of Ireland will see an ease in the strict Level 5 restrictions that have been in place across the country since Christmas.
The easing of the Level 5 restrictions today was first announced on March 30 by Taoiseach Micheál Martin during a national address. Martin said that this summer, businesses and our public services will safely reopen.
The easing of restrictions comes after Ireland's Minister for Health confirmed last week that more than one million doses of the vaccine have been administered in the country.
However, while Ireland's Level 5 restrictions are being relaxed, the country's mandatory hotel quarantine scheme is being expanded. From Thursday, April 15, arrivals from more than 70 countries, including the US and Canada, will be subject to the mandatory hotel quarantine in Dublin with limited exemptions.
Here's what is in effect as of today, April 12
If 2 weeks have passed since you got your second dose of the vaccine, you can meet with other fully vaccinated people from 1 other household indoors without wearing masks or staying 2 metres apart.
If you have received the second dose, you have to wait 2 weeks until you can meet other fully vaccinated people indoors.
From April 12:
- Schools: In-school teaching to fully return
- Meeting other households: You can meet 1 other household outside but not in your garden or theirs
- Travel: You can travel within your county or within 20km of your home if crossing county boundaries
- Construction: All residential construction can resume, as well as early learning and childcare projects
Schools and higher and adult education
- From April 12 onwards (post-Easter Holidays), in-school teaching to fully return.
- Higher, further and adult education should remain primarily online.
From April 12, all residential construction can resume, as well as early learning and childcare projects.
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 is not permitted.
- Click and deliver will continue to be permitted.
- The government will consider the phased return of non-essential retail commencing with click and collect and outdoor retail, for example: garden centres/nurseries, after May 4.
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.
If 2 weeks have passed since you got your second dose of the vaccine, you can meet with other fully vaccinated people from 1 other household indoors without wearing masks or staying 2 metres apart. If you have received the second dose, you have to wait 2 weeks until you can meet other fully vaccinated people indoors.
Other settings outside your home or garden
From April 12, you may meet people from 1 other household outdoors, but not in your garden or theirs. Any meetings outdoors should be safe, with continued practising of social distancing and other safe behaviours.
Masks should be worn in crowded outdoor spaces.
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.
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. This will be reviewed by 4 May.
- Places of worship remain open for private prayer.
Attendance at funerals
- The maximum attendance at funerals is currently 10.
Museums, galleries and other cultural attractions
- All venues closed. This will be reviewed by 4 May.
- Online services are 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.
People are required to stay at home except for travel for work, education, or other essential purposes. From April 12, you can travel within your own county or within 20km of your home if crossing county boundaries.
You can travel beyond these distances 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
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 others at increased risk of severe illness
Those aged over 70 years and over and others at increased risk of severe illness should exercise judgement regarding the extent to which they engage with others and in activities outside home.
However, guidance for those most vulnerable to the severe impacts of COVID-19 that have been fully vaccinated will be aligned with that for the general population (for example: regarding use of public transport, going to shops).
Those who have the full protection of the vaccine may visit indoors with one other household who also has full protection.
Full protection is not in place if it has been less than 2 weeks since the second vaccine dose.
See the HPSC's guidance on vaccinated individuals visiting other vaccinated individuals in a household setting.
Guidance for other people at increased risk of severe illness
- disability services guidance
- older persons/long-term residential care facilities
- others at increased risk of severe illness
Visiting long-term residential care facilities (nursing and care homes)
Residents may be facilitated to receive 2 visits per week on general compassionate grounds. This will be possible following two weeks after full vaccination of approximately 8 out of 10 of all residents and healthcare workers in the nursing home.
There is no requirement to limit visits to less than one hour.
See the new guidance on visits to Long Term Residential Care Facilities (LTRCFs), which came into effect from 22 March 2021.