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Easing of Coronavirus Restrictions For Christmas Period

Yesterday, the government unveiled its plans to reopen the country for Christmas following a harsh six week lockdown imposed in October under the Living with Covid-19 plan.

Commenting on the easing of restrictions, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said: “This cannot and will not be the kind of Christmas we are used to but it will be a very special time when we will all be able to enjoy some respite from the hardships of 2020”

The entire country will remain in Level 5 until Tuesday December 1st where it will move to a modified Level 3 (a less harsh lockdown). The country will reopen in three stages; From December 1st, December 4th and 18th.

From December 1st:

  • Do not leave the county except for work, education and other essential journeys
  • People must work from home unless it is necessary to attend in person
  • Public transport will be limited to 50% capacity for essential workers and essential journeys only
  • Face coverings must be worn on public transport and in shops
  • There should be no visitors to your home, apart from those in your support bubble
  • In outdoor settings away from your home or garden, up to 6 people from a maximum of 2 households can meet while maintaining strict physical distancing.
  • At places of worship, there can be a maximum 50 attendees
  • Weddings are limited to 25 guests for ceremony and reception
  • Up to 25 mourners can attend funerals
  • No organised indoor gatherings should take place with the exception of cinemas which can open with protective measures in place
  • Gatherings of up to 15 people can take place outdoors
  • No matches or other sporting events should take place with the exceptions of elite sports and approved inter-country Gaeilic games that should take place behind closed doors
  • Gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools can open for individual use only, with protective measures in place
  • Museums and galleries can open with protective measures in place
  • Libraries are available for browsing, e-services, and call and collect
  • All non-essential retail (eg clothes shops) can reopen 
  • Restaurants, pubs, nightclubs, discos and casinos are to remain shut
  • Wet pubs are to introduce a delivery and takeaway service
  • All services such as hairdressers, beauticians, barbers and opticians can open with strict adherence to sectoral guidance on protective measures
  • Whilst creches and schools are to stay open with extra protective measures, it is reccommended for third-level colleges to offer courses online
  • Playgrounds and play areas all remain open with protective measures in place
  • Hotels, guesthouses and B&B’s can open, but with services limited to residents and hotel restaurants can open to non-residents

  • Visits to care homes are to be suspended except for critical and compassionate circumstance
  • Those aged over 70 and the medically vulnerable are advised to continue to exercise personal judgement

From December 4th:

  • Unless otherwise stated, all of the above guidelines are still in effect!
  • Restaurants and pubs operating as restaurants (serving a substantial meal) can open for indoor dining with additional restrictions, including a requirement for meals to be prepared on site, inside the premises, with a maximum of 6 people per table.

From December 18th:

  • Unless otherwise stated, all of the above guidelines are still in effect!
  • You can travel anywhere in Ireland
  • There should be maximum of 2 other households visiting your home
  • In outdoor settings away from your home or garden, a maximum of 3 households can meet while maintaining strict physical distancing.
  • Non contact training only in pods of up to 15

On Christmas Day, the Government are advising to avoid hugs, kisses and handshakes and to use recyclable (paper) plates and cutlery if having guests over.

Here is a simplified version of the restrictions:

All these measures will remain in effect until January 6th where they will be reviewed and subsequent advice will be issued then.


All the information provided has been sourced from the Level 3 advice on the official government website. You can find more information here.