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Ireland prepares to move to Level 5 from midnight Wednesday to December 1st

Ireland prepares to move to Level 5 from midnight Wednesday to December 1st
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Ireland will move to Level 5 Covid-19 restrictions for six weeks from midnight on Wednesday until December 1st, Taoiseach Micheál Martin announced last night.

Mr Martin said the Government cannot fight the virus alone. He said: “I am asking everyone to take this threat seriously.”

He said it is the core responsibility of the Government to protect public health while supporting the wider economy and society.

The Cabinet is understood to have heard that six weeks of Level 5 restrictions could pave the way for the country to return to lower level restrictions for the full month of December.

Under the Level 5 restrictions, schools are set to remain open.

“We will not allow our children’s futures to be another victim of this disease,” Mr Martin said.

Construction will remain open under the plan, however non-essential retail outlets and hairdressers will have to close.

Pubs and restaurants will only be able to serve takeaway.

People will only be able to exercise within five kilometres of their homes. People will be able to meet up outdoors with one other household away from home for situations such as exercise, within the 5km limit.

There will be a penalty for breaching the five kilometre restriction except for essential purposes, such as: travelling to and from work, medical reasons, vital family reasons such as childcare provision or caring for an elderly relative, attending a wedding or funeral, visiting a grave, or farming purposes.

Weddings will remain limited to 25 guests until the end of the year with just 10 permitted to attend funerals.

Social visits to homes and gardens will not be allowed.

Those living alone, those with mental health challenges and those parenting alone or with shared custody will be allowed to pair with one other household as part of a social support bubble.

Wage subsidy rates are also to be improved in line with PUP rates following discussions at Cabinet.

Hotels, guesthouses and Bed & Breakfasts can remain open, but only for guests who are providing an essential service.

Religious services will be available online.

Museums, galleries and other cultural attractions will remain closed, while libraries will be available for online services only.

Outdoor playgrounds and play areas will remain open with protective measures.

In sport, inter-county GAA matches, the conclusion of the SSE Airtricity League, international and Pro14 rugby matches and horse racing are among the events that can continue to take place under the Government’s plan.

Non-contact training for school-aged children can also continue in outdoor pods of 15.

Visits to long-term residential care facilities are suspended, except in compassionate circumstances.

Public transport will operate at 25% capacity to allow those providing essential services to get to work. School transport will not be affected.

There will be enhanced financial supports for individuals and businesses, as well as measures focusing on mental health.

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