New lockdown restrictions set to be imposed; here's the differences and similarities between Level 4 and Level 5

New lockdown restrictions set to be imposed; here's the differences and similarities between Level 4 and Level 5

At Level 4, the priority is to keep schools and childcare services open, while keeping people safe. At Level 5, the public health risk means that people will be asked to stay at home, except to exercise within five kilometres of their home.

The Government will take "decisive and nationwide" action on Monday over the rising number of coronavirus cases, a minister has said.

It comes after political leaders received briefings from health officials in Dublin on Saturday about their concerns at the recent rapid spread of the virus.

Minister Simon Harris said: "The Government will act tomorrow, the action will be decisive and the action will be right across the country, it'll be nationwide action.

"It's clear now that the virus is at such a level within all our communities, the county-by-county approach will not be sufficient.

"So tomorrow we will have to bring in more restrictions.

"Level 3 has not worked in terms of getting the virus to where it needs to get to."

But, what are the differences between Level 4 and Level 5 guidelines?

At Level 4, the priority is to keep schools and childcare services open, while keeping people safe. No visitors to private homes or social gatherings are allowed while only businesses and services deemed to be essential will be open.

At Level 5, the public health risk means that people will be asked to stay at home, except to exercise within five kilometres of their home. There will be no gatherings other than small numbers at funerals and weddings.

Funerals: At Level 4 can be attended by up to 25 mourners while at Level 5 they can be attended by up to 10 mourners.

Organised outdoor gatherings: At Level 4 such as outdoor arts events and training events with a named organiser, owner or manager can take place with up to 15 people. At Level 5 they should no longer take place.

Gatherings in a home or garden: At both Levels 4 and 5 do not permit any visitors. No social or family gatherings should take place in other settings also.

Weddings: At both Levels 4 and 5 ceremonies and receptions can be attended by up to 6 guests. Guests cannot leave their county to attend a wedding under Level 4. It is unclear if they can travel beyond five kilometres to attend a wedding under Level 5.

Religious services: At both Levels 4 and 5 must move online with places of worship remaining open for private prayer.

Organised indoor gatherings: At both Levels 4 and 5 such as events in theatres, cinemas, arts events, business events, training events or conferences should not take place.

Restrictions on domestic travel: At Level 4 are in place as people are asked to stay in their county apart from work, education and other essential purposes. At Level 5 stricter restrictions are in place as people are asked to stay at home and exercise within five kilometres of their homes.

Schools and childcare services: At Level 4 will remain open with protective measures. 

Higher and adult education: At Level 4 such as universities must move primarily online with appropriate protective measures in place for essential attendance on site. At Level 5 all will be subject to “recommendations based on situation and evidence at time.” 

Working from home: At Level 4 should take place, with only essential or other "designated" workers attending in person. At Level 5 only those working in health, social care or other essential services can attend work in person.

Public transport: At both Levels 4 and 5 face coverings must be worn, capacity will be limited to 25 per cent, and the service should be used for essential workers and purposes only.

Those aged over 70 and the medically vulnerable: At both Levels 4 and 5 they should "exercise judgement" regarding the extent to which they engage with others and in activities outside home, with specific guidance set to be provided.

Nursing and care home visits: At both Levels 4 and 5 visits are suspended aside from “critical and compassionate circumstances.” Businesses and services - differences Bars, cafes, restaurants and wet pubs: At Level 4 can remain open for outdoor dining with a maximum of 15 people and takeaways only. At Level 5 they can open for takeaway or delivery only.

Hotels and accommodation: At Level 4 can remain open for existing guests only and for those with essential non-social and non-tourist purposes. At Level 5 they can remain open for those with essential non-social and non-tourist purposes only.

Essential retail and businesses: At Level 4 that are primarily outdoors only can remain open. All other retail and personal services will be closed. At Level 5 only essential retailers can remain open with the wearing of face coverings. All other retail and personal services will be closed.

Museums, galleries and other cultural attractions: At both Levels 4 and 5 they must all be closed.

Nightclubs, discos and casinos: At both Levels 4 and 5 they will remain closed.

Sports - Outdoor non-contact training: At Level 4 can take place in pods of up to 15. Indoor training: At Level 4 can only be undertaken by individuals, with no exercise or dance classes. At Level 5 both indoor and outdoor training can take place for individuals only.

Matches and events: At Level 4 most cannot take place, with exemptions for professional, elite, inter-country and horse-racing taking place behind closed doors. At Level 5 no matches and events can take place, with no exemptions.

Gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools: At both Levels 4 and 5 they will be closed.

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