Covid-19 Q&A: What does a return to Level 5 mean?

Here’s what will happen when the country returns to a full level 5 lockdown
Covid-19 Q&A: What does a return to Level 5 mean?

Patrick's Street in Cork during the last level 5 lockdown. Picture: David Creedon / Anzenberger

The Government has today agreed that the country will return to Level 5 Covid-19 restrictions. 

Level 5 will come into effect at midnight tonight and will remain in place until midnight on January 31.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin announced the measures in an address to the country tonight. 

Here's what a return to lockdown will mean for you:

Can people call to my home?

No visitors are permitted in private homes/gardens (except for essential family reasons such as providing care to children, elderly or vulnerable people, or as part of a support bubble).

No social/family gatherings should take place in other settings.

People may meet with people from one other household in outdoor settings when taking exercise.

What about indoor gatherings?

No organised indoor gatherings should take place.

And outdoor gatherings?

No organised outdoor gatherings should take place.

I’m due to get married next month, how many people can attend?

Weddings planned up to and including January 2 may proceed as planned, with up to a maximum of 25 guests. 

Weddings from January 3 may proceed, but with a maximum of 6 guests.

What about funerals?

Up to 10 mourners can attend.

Can I go to Mass?

Places of worship may remain open for private prayer.

Religious services will be held online.

Can pubs and restaurants open?

Cafes, restaurants and pubs operating as restaurants can only offer delivery and takeaway food.

Wet pubs are to remain closed.

Nightclubs, discos and casinos will remain closed.

Can museums open? 

Cultural venues like museums and galleries are to remain closed. 

Libraries will be available for online services only.

What about shops and hairdressers?

Under a full Level 5 lockdown, all non-essential retail will be closed.

Essential services will remain open, but face coverings must be worn.

Will I able to exercise? 

Under level restrictions, you will only be allowed to exercise within a 5km limit. 

Only individual training will be permitted.

Gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools should shut from close of business tomorrow.

Only elite and professional sports events are permitted to continue behind closed doors.

No indoor or outdoor gatherings involving 'individual training' are allowed, except for exempted groups.

No matches or events can take place under level 5 – professional, elite sports, horse-racing and greyhound racing and approved equestrian events only are permitted to continue behind closed doors.

Golf and Tennis are also not allowed.

Can I go to the office?

The Government is advising people to work from home unless travel is required for work which is for healthcare, social care or other essential service and cannot be done from home.

Will schools stay open?

Yes. However, reopening will be postponed until January 11 

Higher education and adult education are set to remain online “with exemptions for essential onsite activities”.

What about travel?

From midnight, people will only be allowed to travel for essential reasons.

A 5km travel limit will also be imposed.

People are also requested to walk or cycle where possible and to avoid public transport, so it can be used by essential workers for essential purposes only. 

Public transport capacity will be restricted to 25 percent.

The Government has also agreed that the current ban on air travel and passenger travel on ferries from the UK will be extended until January 6. 

As a similar new highly-transmissible strain has been identified in South Africa, this international travel ban will also apply to South Africa until the same date.

What about the impact on workers and businesses?

A double payment of the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme CRSS, up to a maximum of €5,000 a week will be available to those subject to restrictions this week and next week. 

Affected business will also be able to avail of commercial rates relief for the first three months of 2021. 

The Government also says the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) will remain available to help maintain people in jobs, along with extensive tax warehousing arrangements, reduced VAT rates, the spend and stay scheme, a range of reduced-cost loans, grants and voucher schemes.

The Pandemic Unemployment Payment will be made available for anyone whose job is affected by today's announcement. 

Speaking this evening, Social Protection Minister urged anyone who wishes to avail of PUP to apply online as soon as possible.

Anyone made unemployed from today, December 30, and who applies by 5pm on December 31, will be able to receive a PUP payment by January 5, once they are eligible.

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