Covid-19: New restrictions on hospitality and household visits from end of month

Restaurants and pubs serving food must close aside from takeaways and deliveries from the end of the month, in order to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Under post-Christmas plans, the Irish Times reports that new restrictions will be imposed on businesses from December 30th.

The Government is expected to soften the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet)’s advice to introduce these measures on December 28th, opting for the day before New Year’s Eve instead.

It is also expected to reject Nphet’s advice to prohibit inter-county travel after Christmas and allow people to travel outside their county up to January 6th.

From December 30th, new restrictions will also come into force on household visits.

People will be asked to allow visits from no more than one other household — down from the two currently permitted under relaxed measures for the Christmas period.

Level 3 plus

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The new restrictions will be introduced ahead of New Year’s Eve to reduce numbers of close contacts, as people traditionally gather in large numbers.

The plans remain subject to Cabinet approval, with the Government to meet on Tuesday to consider Nphet’s call for escalated restrictions.

In a letter to Government on Thursday, Nphet recommended “Level 3 plus” restrictions from December 28th.

Under these restrictions, people would stay in their county and both restaurants and gastropubs would close except for deliveries and takeaways.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said on Friday the Government was “very minded” to accept the Nphet advice.

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Senior Government sources said that they were now preparing to implement the new restrictions in the days after Christmas.

Political sources have privately said that the “Level 3 plus” restrictions could be in place until a vaccine roll-out begins to have an effect.

It comes as yesterday, Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan warned “the country simply cannot cope” with current levels of infection as six further Covid-19 related deaths and 582 additional cases were confirmed.

Both the Cabinet and Nphet are scheduled to meet over the Christmas period to monitor the situation, with a Cabinet meeting scheduled for December 29th.

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