Taoiseach Micheál Martin delivered a live address on Friday night outlining the new restrictions and regulations that will come into effect for Ireland.
“The risks associated with proceeding into the Christmas period without some restrictions to reduce the volume of personal contacts is just too high," the Taoiseach said in light of recommendations from Ireland's National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET).
"I’ve always been straight with you as Taoiseach, that the protection of public health is the Government’s primary responsibility and that we will do whatever is needed to discharge that duty.
“This is not about going back to the days of lockdowns. It’s about adjusting the guidelines to meet the threat we face today and protecting the progress achieved to date.”
Outlining the forthcoming restrictions and regulations, the Taoiseach said:
"From 7th December until 9th January, nightclubs will close.
"Strict social distancing will be required in all bars and restaurants, including hotels, and they must all revert to the situation that was in place before 22nd October. That means:
- table service only
- 1 metre between tables
- a maximum of six adults per table
- there can be no multiple table bookings
- masks must be worn when not at the table
- closing time remains at midnight
- There will be a maximum of 50% capacity at entertainment, cultural, community, and sporting events, which must all be fully seated. Face masks must be worn at all times unless eating or drinking.
"Requirement for the Covid Pass will be required for gyms and leisure centres and hotel bars and restaurants.
"In addition, NPHET have advised that visits to private homes over the coming weeks should be kept to a maximum of three other households (that’s four households in total) at any one time."
Acknowledging that people in Ireland's hospitality industry will be "fearing for their livelihoods" in the wake of the changes, the Taoiseach vowed to continue the approach of providing support to those affected.
Heather Humphreys, Ireland's Minister for Social Protection, has since confirmed that applications for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) will reopen:
I know many workers will be worried tonight. The Pandemic Unemployment Payment will reopen for applications for workers impacted by latest restrictions. My Dept @welfare_ie will work on this as a matter of urgency & full details will be announced over coming days.— Heather Humphreys (@HHumphreysFG) December 3, 2021
The Taoiseach concluded his address by saying: "We will get through this latest twist by drawing on the same spirit of resilience that has got us to this point, the same spirit of solidarity and trust in science that has given us the most vaccinated population in Europe, and the same spirit of community, that defines us a nation.
"We will get through it together. Stay safe and look after each other."
You can watch the Taoiseach's address from today, December 3, here: