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Life under Level 4: What will be closed under tighter restrictions next week?

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It is likely that the entire country will move to at least Level 4 restrictions next week, Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris has signalled.

The Government will agree further nationwide restrictions tomorrow to stem the spread of coronavirus infections after the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) twice called for the State to move the Level 5, the highest level on the State’s Living With Covid plan.

Most counties are currently on Level 3, with three of the Border counties – Donegal, Monaghan and Cavan – on Level 4.

But signalling a likely move to at least Level 4 restrictions, Mr Harris said the Level 3 measure “has not worked in terms of getting the virus to where it needs to get to”, and the trajectory of the virus is concerning health officials.

Here is what Level 4 looks like:

Can I travel outside my county?

You cannot leave your county apart from work, education and other essential purposes. Under Level 4, the advice is that only essential or other designated workers should go to work.

Can I have any visitors to my home?

No. You are not allowed to have visitors to your home or garden under Level 4. No social or family gatherings should take place in other settings also.

Are organised indoor or outdoor gatherings allowed to take place such as conferences, events in theatres or other arts events?

No organised indoor gatherings should take place. Outdoor gatherings of up to 15 people can take place.

Museums, galleries and other cultural attractions all remain closed under Level 4.

What about weddings?

Up to six guests can attend a wedding ceremony and reception.

Can Mass still take place?

Religious services will be held online, while places of worship remain open for private prayer.

Does this mean funerals can’t take place?

Funerals can still take place with a maximum of 25 mourners.

What about sport or matches?

Outdoor non-contact training can take place but only in pods of up to 15. In terms of indoors, there is to be individual training only. No exercise or dance classes can take place.

No matches or events can take place either. There is an exemption for professional and elite sport/inter-county/horse-racing, with matches and events allowed to take place behind closed doors.

Can gyms stay open?

No. Gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools all close under Level 4.

What about pubs and restaurants?

Bars, cafes and restaurants, including those in hotels, can offer takeaway food or delivery. There is to be no indoor dining with outdoor dining limited to a maximum of 15 people.

In terms of wet pubs, it is limited to a maximum of 15 people outdoors.

Nightclubs, discos and casinos will remain closed.

What happens to hotels and similar accommodation?

These can remain open only to existing guests and those with “essential non-social and non-tourist purposes”.

Are retail outlets and hairdressers/barbers staying open?

Essential retail and businesses that are primarily outdoors only can remain open and face coverings must continue to be worn. All other retail and personal services close.

Will schools and crèches remain open?

Schools and crèches will remain open with protective measures. Further, higher and adult education moves primarily online with appropriate protective measures in place for essential attendance on site.

Do over-70s and medically vulnerable people have to cocoon?

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. Specific guidance is also due to be issued regarding these groups.

Can I visit a relative in a nursing home?

Visits to long-term residential care facilities are suspended under Level 4 aside from “critical and compassionate circumstances”.

What about public transport?

Face coverings must continue to be worn on public transport. People should only use public transport if they are essential workers or for essential purposes only. People are advised to walk or cycle where possible. Public transport capacity will be restricted to 25 per cent.

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