Explainer: What are the new level five restrictions?

A new lockdown set to last for “at least” one month has been announced by the Taoiseach.

Full level five restrictions will take effect from midnight in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Ireland.

In an address to the nation, Micheál Martin said the situation here is now “extremely serious” amid record case numbers and increased hospitalisations.

Here are the new measures announced this evening:

Timeline

The Taoiseach said the restrictions will be in place for “at least” one month which would bring us to midnight on January 31st.

All measures will come into effect from midnight tonight, apart from those concerning non-essential retail, which must shut from close of business tomorrow.

Social gatherings

All household visits will be banned, including in private gardens.

An exception to this is for essential family reasons such as providing care to children, elderly or vulnerable people, or as part of a support bubble.

No social or family gatherings should take place in other settings.

However, people may meet with people from one other household in outdoor settings when exercising.

Schools

Primary and secondary schools will open on January 11th, instead of January 6th as scheduled.

According to the Government, a further review of the “precise situation” will be held in advance of reopening.

Early learning and childcare services will remain open with protective measures.

Higher, further and adult education should remain primarily online.

At Level 5, the public health risk means that you will be asked to stay at home, except for travel for work, education or other essential purposes, or to take exercise within 5km of home.

See https://t.co/bcWUJ5BaHe pic.twitter.com/Y2HyfY1uWE

— MerrionStreet.ie #StaySafe #HoldFirm (@merrionstreet) December 30, 2020

Travel

People will be required to stay at home except when travelling for work, education or other essential purposes.

Exercise within five kilometres of home is allowed.

People currently away from their homes will be permitted to return to their place of residence.

Work

People are advised to work from home unless carrying out health, social care or other essential services which cannot be done from home.

Retail

All retail, other than essential retail, must shut from close of business on December 31st.

All non-essential services remain closed, while Click and Collect services will be available.

Weddings and funerals

Weddings planned up to and including January 2nd can go ahead as planned with up to a maximum of 25 guests.

From January 3rd, only six guests will be permitted.

Funerals may have up to ten mourners.

Evictions

The moratorium on evictions will be reintroduced from midnight.

Main image: A Stay Home message on the famous Naas Ball on the N7/M7 motorway in Co Kildare from earlier this year. Picture by: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie