Covid-19 restrictions: What is Level Three?

Covid-19 restrictions: What is Level Three?

Dublin and Donegal are currently under Level Three restrictions. Picture: Sasko Lazarov /

The Government has rejected the National Public Health Emergency Team's (Nphet) recommendation to move Ireland to Level Five restrictions and instead has announced a move to Level Three. 

The decision was taken after a meeting between the Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan and party leaders at Government buildings this afternoon. 

In a television statement this evening Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed the new measures will take place from tomorrow night at midnight. 

This follows a Cabinet decision this afternoon. 

Earlier today following the announcement of 518 new cases, Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan warned of the "significant and concerning deterioration" of the coronavirus situation nationally and said everything must be done to reduce the spread of the virus ahead of the winter months. 

A move to level three entails stricter regulations for social gatherings and further restrictions for businesses. 

It is expected that these stricter restrictions will be met with further enforcement. 

Read on to see what the new measures mean. 

What are Level Three restrictions? 

A move to Level Three restrictions nationwide will see Covid-19 restrictions in place for business and society similar to measures already in place for Dublin and Donegal. 

Schools and creches will remain open but visitors would be limited to one other household to a maximum of six people or your own household and additional restrictions will be in place for retail and hospitality businesses. 

Level Three advises no indoor gatherings should take place and no social or family gatherings should take place outside of the home or garden. 

A maximum of 25 people will be allowed to attend a wedding or reception and the same amount may attend a funeral. Religious services will move online however places of worship will remain open for private prayer. 

Museums, galleries, and other cultural attractions are closed under Level Three restrictions and no sporting matches may take place and training will be permitted with only 15 people in pods. 

Wet pubs may stay open but only for take-away and delivery and outdoor dining service to a maximum of 15 people.

Aswell, unless absolutely necessary, people should work from home. 

To see the full government guidance read here.

Social and family gatherings

In your home or garden You can have a maximum of 6 visitors from 1 other household.

No social or family gatherings should take place outside your home or garden. 

Organised indoor gatherings

These are controlled environments with a named event organiser, owner or manager.

E.g business, training events, conferences, events in theatres and cinemas or other arts events (excluding sport).

No organised indoor gatherings should take place.

Organised outdoor gatherings

These are controlled environments with a named event organiser, owner or manager. E.g outdoor arts events, training events.

Gatherings of up to 15 people can take place.

Exercise and sporting events

Non-contact training only may take place only in pods of up to 15 with the exemption for professional/elite/inter-county sports/senior club championship.

Indoors training may only take place for individual training only. No exercise or dance classes.

No matches or events to take place with the exemption of professional/elite/inter-county/club championship/horse-racing behind closed doors.

Gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools may open with protective measures, for individual training only.

Religious services

Services move online. Places of worship remain open for private prayer.


Up to 25 people can attend a wedding ceremony and reception.


Up to 25 mourners can attend.

Museums, galleries and other cultural attractions

All venues closed.

Libraries will be available for e-services and call and collect.

Bars, cafes and restaurants (including hotel restaurants and bars)

Can remain open for take-away and delivery and outdoor dining service to a maximum of 15 people.

Wet pubs can remain open for take-away and delivery and outdoor dining/service to a maximum of 15 people.

Hotels and accommodation

Open but services limited to residents.

Retail and services E.g hairdressers, beauticians, barbers

Face coverings must be worn.

Open with protective measures in place.

Further guidance is available for the retail sector, shopping centres and spas here.

Domestic travel restrictions

Stay in your county apart from work, education and essential purposes. 

Schools, early learning and childcare services, adult and higher education

Schools and creches are open with protective measures.

Further, higher and adult education to escalate all appropriate protective measures and limit congregation as far as possible.

Outdoor playgrounds, play areas and parks

All remain open with protective measures in place.


Face coverings must be worn.

Walk or cycle where possible.

Public transport capacity will be limited to 50%.

Essential workers and essential purposes only.

Over 70 and medically vulnerable individuals

Those aged 70 years and over and the medically vulnerable should exercise personal judgement.

It is recommended that they stay at home as much as possible, limit engagement to a very small network for short periods of time, while remaining physically distanced when taking exercise outdoors, it is important to maintain 2 metres distance from others and wash hands on returning home. 

It is recommended to shop during designated hours only, while wearing a face covering, and to avoid public transport

Visiting long-term residential care facilities (nursing and care homes)

Visits suspended, aside from critical and compassionate circumstances.


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