Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has heavily criticised the National Public Health Emergency Team's (Nphet) Level 5 advice this evening.
He was scathing in his criticism of Nphet for its Sunday night recommendation which he blasted "was not thought through" and "should not have happened".
Mr Varadkar speaking on RTÉ television, hit out at Nphet for "landing this on us as a surprise", "That shouldn't have happened, The CMO (Chief Medical Officer) accepted it and it will not happen again," Mr Varadkar said.
While he said he did not call the Nphet recommendation "crazy" he was clearly angry at the lack of prior consultation from Nphet.
He said Justice Minister Helen McEntee got Cabinet approval today for additional Garda resources to allow them police restrictions of movement within counties.
Mr Varadkar gave only a qualified expression of confidence in Nphet but did say he retained confidence in Tony Holohan.
Level Three restrictions could cost as much as 230,000 jobs in pubs and restaurants, say hospitality chiefs.
Both the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) and the Vintners' Federation of Ireland (VFI) say the decision will devastate both sectors.
RAI CEO Adrian Cummins says the announcement of nationwide restrictions will cause an “economic meltdown” for the restaurants and hospitality sector.
He said over 20,000 businesses with over 180,000 jobs across will be hardest hit.
Adrian Cummins added: “Putting Ireland’s entire restaurant hospitality Industry on level 3 restrictions is utterly disproportionate, devastating for workers and business owners, plus lacking in evidence-based rationale” He said that since June 29th, restaurants had implemented all of the guidelines and regulations necessary to protect staff and customers.
And they had done this while “sustaining their business and reacting to the ongoing economic turbulence”.
He also said that since the last of the government’s new living with Covid framework, there has been absolutely no engagement from NPHET, the HSE or anyone in Government.
“Government must implement an emergency support package for Restaurants, Cafes and Hospitality businesses across Ireland with immediate effect,” he said.
VFI Chief Executive, Padraig Cribben, said: “The government decision to move the entire country to Level Three will see 50,000 bar staff lose their jobs.” He said the move is “another devastating development for the pub sector” in a year where it has “borne the brunt of lockdown restrictions and closures”.
He pointed out that many pubs had only reopened two weeks ago after closing on 15th March.
“There is now an urgent need for Government to announce immediate additional support for the pub trade including a substantial increase in the Restart Gran,” he said.
“It’s impossible to overstate the impact this news will have on publicans across the country. “We face the grim fact that over 50,000 people will once again have to sign-on this week.”