Christmas is a special time of year for everybody, however, 2020 being the year it is has made it so Christmas might just be cancelled this year.
On December 22nd, An Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed that on Christmas Eve (December 24th), Level Five (5) restrictions will return up until January 12th 2021 in a bid to stop the spread of COVID-19. It is also an attempt to eliminate any chance of the new strain of the killer virus in Ireland. Level 5 is the highest and most serious level and has the strictest measures implemented.
An Taoiseach @MichealMartinTD:
From Christmas Eve, until 12th January 2021 the Government has agreed to return to Level 5 of the Plan for Living with COVID with a number of specific adjustments.
— MerrionStreet.ie #StaySafe #HoldFirm (@merrionstreet) December 22, 2020
In recent days, the cases of COVID have risen significantly with people dubbing this “The Third Wave”. Commenting on how well the Irish people have done so far, Michéal Martin said “as a country and as a community of people working together, we have managed to sustain one of the lowest rates of Covid mortality in all of Europe. And we want to keep it that way”.
Since the new restrictions imposed may cause confusion for some, we are going to explain them so that you understand them!
The Level 5 restrictions are as follows:
- People are asked to STAY AT HOME except to exercise within five kilometers from their home
- People must work from home unless it is necessary to attend in person (essential workers eg doctors, nurses and retail assistants)
- No visitors are allowed to your house
- No organised events are to take place
- No indoors and outdoor gatherings are permitted, other than attending funerals (10 mourners) or weddings which is limited to six guests
- Only essential retail are to remain open
- Cafes, restaurants and bars/wet pubs are only to offer a takeaway or delivery service
- Hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs are open for essential purposes only
- Public transport is limited to 25% capacity. It is reccomended to avoid public transport and to cycle or walk if possible
- Schools, creches and universities will remain open however further reccomendations will be made based on cases numbers in an area
- Visiting to care houses has been suspended
- Face coverings must be worn on public transport and in shops
Some of the modified restrictions:
- Restaurants, pubs and hairdressers must close on Christmas Eve at 3pm
- On Christmas Day, the Government are advising to use recyclable (paper) plates and cutlery and to avoid hugs, kisses and handshakes if having guests over
- People can travel beyond their county until the end of St Stephen’s Day (December 26th)
- Places of worship are to move online from the 26th of December
- Travel restrictions to and from the UK will remain in place until 31st December
- From New Years Day (January 1st), no household mixing will be allowed except for compassionate reasons
- The number of wedding guest will be reduced to six from January 2nd
- Non-essential retail to remain open and gyms for individual training only
- Schools will return as normal after Christmas
The measures that are to be implemented have come at the behest of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) who have expressed concern at rising case numbers in recent weeks and have subsequently offered recommendations to the Government for implementation.
On the bright side, Santa has been given exclusive access to Ireland dispite the Travel Ban:
We’ve just been asked will the extension of the #travelban affect Santa/Santy/Daidí na Nollag? 🎅
The big man will be fine. Even if he delivers to Britain before us, it’s a cargo flight & he’s an essential worker. 🎅 🛷 @HeathrowAirport @EDI_Airport @Cardiff_Airport
— Dublin Airport (@DublinAirport) December 22, 2020