The Government has announced a raft of new Covid-19 measures that will come into place from today.
The restrictions come with cases rising and the first case of the new Omicron variant being identified here.
The new measures will be in place throughout the Christmas period until January 9.
Here’s what is changing:
Bars and restaurants, including hotels, will largely revert back to the rules that were in place prior to October 22.
From Tuesday there will be:
- Table service only (no counter service).
- A maximum of six adults per table.
- No multiple table bookings and no intermingling.
- Masks must be worn when not seated.
The closing times will remain unchanged, meaning bars must close at midnight, while nightclubs will not be allowed to open.
A Covid pass will be required for bars and restaurants, including in hotels – removing the exemption for residents.
A pass will also be required for access to gyms and leisure centres.
Capacity limits at indoor events such as gigs, theatre performances and concerts has been reduced to 50%.
The events must also be fully seated. The same rules apply for sporting events.
There will be no change to weddings or outdoor gatherings.
At present, weddings can proceed without capacity limits but with all other protective measures remaining in place.
Visits to private homes should be limited to a maximum of three other households.
This means four households in total can be at a visit, including the people who live in the home.
The Government has said that it recognises that there are specific days in December, such as Christmas Day, “which are important social and cultural occasions where families will likely choose to come together in larger household numbers”.
New testing rules came into place on Sunday for people arriving into Ireland.
Anyone arriving into the State via a plane or ferry is required to show proof of a negative Covid test prior to departure.
If fully vaccinated, the negative test can either be a professionally-administered antigen test taken 48 hours before arrival or a PCR test taken 72 hours before arrival. Without vaccination, an antigen test will not be valid.
The rules also apply to travellers from Britain.
Any passengers who arrive into Ireland without a negative result will need to home quarantine and take a PCR test within 36 hours of arrival.
All children in third class and above are being asked to wear masks in school, following advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team last week.
New advice was issued to schools on Monday with regard to the rules.
If a child attends school without a mask, the Department of Education said it is not intended that any child will be excluded by the school in the first instance.
The department said that if the issue arises, schools will engage “pragmatically and sensitively” with parents to explore any particular difficulties arising for the child.
They added that in “limited circumstances” where a face mask cannot be worn, clear visors may be considered.
Children may be exempt from wearing masks if they fall into a number of categories.
This includes any pupil with difficulty breathing or other relevant medical conditions, any pupil who is unable to remove the cloth face mask or visor without assistance, and any pupil who has special needs and who may feel upset or very uncomfortable wearing the cloth face mask.