Covid-19 restrictions: What will life be like at Level 4?

Covid-19 restrictions: What will life be like at Level 4?

Further restrictions are expected tomorrow. Picture: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Minister for Higher Education, Simon Harris, said the government will announce further restrictions to reduce the spread of Covid-19 in Ireland on Monday.

It now looks likely that level 4 restrictions with some additions will be imposed after Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris said level 3 restrictions "have not worked".

Mr Harris told RTÉ's the Week in Politics that it is "a really anxious time for people" but added that the trajectory of the virus is now "a real concern" for both the Government and public health experts.

His announcement follows a failure of the government to reach a decision yesterday evening over a future course of action. 

Senior public health officials including Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan briefed the government yesterday evening about the coronavirus situation across the country.

Twice now in two weeks, the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) has recommended a move to Level 5 restrictions but the government has held off both times.  

The Border counties, Donegal, Cavan, and Monaghan, were moved to level 4 restrictions earlier this week on Wednesday due to their high 14-day incidence rate and follows a rapid rise of Covid-19 cases in Northern Ireland. 

Level 4 restrictions are the strictest possible next to Level 5 restrictions which would see the country move to the highest state of lockdown since Ireland's first attempts to suppress the virus since March. 

The government has said the priority at this level is to keep schools and childcare services open while maintaining people's safety. 

Read on to see what the new measures mean.

What are Level 4 restrictions?

Social and family gatherings

In your home or garden: You can not have visitors from outside your own household.

Other settings outside your home or garden: No social or family gatherings should take place in other settings.

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

Operate with take away food or delivery. No indoor dining and outdoor dining is limited to a maximum of 15 people.


Up to 6 guests can attend a wedding ceremony and reception. Guests cannot leave their counties to attend. 


Up to 25 mourners can attend a funeral. 

Religious services

Services will be held online but places of worship remain open for private prayer.


Only essential or other designated workers should go to work.


No new juries will be sworn to hear trials at the Central Criminal Court if the government opts for a Level 5 lockdown.

Mr Justice Michael White today said that trials can continue during Level 4 restrictions, with juries to be selected from smaller panels to allow for social-distancing.

Under Level 5 no new juries will be sworn but trials that are already underway will continue. 

It remains to be seen what will happen if the government opts for a hybrid of Levels 4 and 5.

A further statement from the Courts Service is expected on Monday afternoon.

Domestic travel restrictions

People should stay in their county apart for essential work, education and other essential purposes.

Schools, creches and higher and adult education

Schools and creches will remain open with protective measures.

Further, higher and adult education institutions move primarily online with appropriate protective measures in place if attendance is essential.

Organised indoor gatherings

No organised indoor gatherings should take place including business, training events, conferences, events in theatres and cinemas or other arts events (excluding sport).

Organised outdoor gatherings

Gatherings of up to 15 people can take place outdoors for example outdoor arts events or training events.

Exercise and sporting events

Training Outdoors: Non-contact training can take place but only in pods of up to 15.

Indoors: Individual training only. No exercise or dance classes can take place.

Matches and events: No matches or events to take place with an exemption for professional and elite sports behind closed doors. 

Gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools will be closed.

Museums, galleries and other cultural attractions

All venues are closed with online services available. 

Hotels and accommodation

Open but only for existing guests, and those with essential non-social and non-tourist purposes.

Retail and services (for example hairdressers, beauticians, barbers)

Face coverings must be worn and only essential retail and businesses that are primarily outdoors can remain open. 

All other retail and personal services will be closed.

Outdoor playgrounds, play areas and parks

All remain open with protective measures in place.


Face coverings must be worn and public transport capacity will be restricted to 25%.

People should avoid public transport and walk or cycle where possible.

Over 70 and medically vulnerable individuals

Specific guidance will be issued however those aged over 70 years and over and the medically vulnerable should exercise judgement regarding the extent to which they engage with others and in activities outside home. 

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

Suspended, aside from critical and compassionate circumstances.

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