Government follows Nphet advice with level 5 move for six weeks

Government follows Nphet advice with level 5 move for six weeks

Bars, cafes and restaurants would be required to operate on a takeaway basis only under level 5. Picture: Dan Linehan

Ireland will go to level 5 restrictions for six weeks from this week.

The move will come into effect later this week to allow businesses and individuals to prepare.

The announcement will be made by Taoiseach Micheál Martin later this evening after Cabinet signs off on the move officially.

It will see Ireland return to a state of lockdown similar to March.

Under level 5, the highest tier of restrictions, travel would only be permitted within 5km of a person's home, only essential retail would remain open and public transport would only be for essential workers.

Bars, cafes and restaurants would be required to operate on a takeaway basis only.

Moving to level 5 sees the Government follow the advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) which made the recommendations in a letter to the Health Minister last week.

Cabinet have agreed that professional sports can continue in level 5, and social bubbles for the vulnerable and elderly will be allowed.

Sources say Minister Catherine Martin among others has been pushing heavily for the idea of a "support bubble".

Based on the UK idea, a "bubble" is a group of people that a person can have close contact with, this is only for single adults living alone, single parents with children under 18 or the elderly can have close contact with one other set of people.

It is recommended support "bubbles" are local to avoid necessary travel.

Sports training for children can continue in pods, like in schools, as normal and disability care and addiction services will stay open.

For counties under level 5, gyms and adult amateur sports training will be stopped. 

Individual exercise will remain allowed within 5km of your home. 

No outdoor gatherings will be allowed and all professional sport will be played behind closed doors.

A new mental health package is to be introduced in order to counteract the psychological effects of a second country-wide lockdown. 

It's understood a number of cabinet members had flagged the effects on mental health when discussing the new restrictions.

The current proposal is to move to a mix of Level 4 and Level 5 on a county by county basis and the cabinet are currently discussing how to exit the restrictions.

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