Covid-19 restrictions to be eased from today; here's what it will mean for life in Cork

Covid-19 restrictions to be eased from today; here's what it will mean for life in Cork

Shopping in Cork city centre on Saturday afternoon.  Picture Denis Minihane.

Ireland's Level 3 Covid-19 restrictions are set to relax from today ahead of the festive season.

People are now allowed to travel anywhere in Ireland and a total of three households are allowed to meet up.

The changes, which come into effect as public health officials warn of a spike in case numbers, are designed to give people some freedom to travel home to other counties in order to see loved ones and family members this Christmas.

Until now, household visits were not permitted, with the exception of those within peoples’ support bubble, but as of today, two other households can be invited into one’s home or garden.

In outdoor settings away from peoples’ homes or gardens, a maximum of three households can meet while maintaining strict physical distancing.

Weddings can go ahead, but with a limit of 25 guests for ceremony and reception and no organised indoor gatherings such as training events, conferences, or events in theatres should take place, however cinemas can open with protective measures in place.

Organised outdoor gatherings of up to 15 people can take place.

Non-contact sports training only is allowed outdoors in pods of up to 15 with an exemption for professional and elite sports and approved inter-county Gaelic games.

Individual training only is allowed indoors with no exercise or dance classes allowed and gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools can open for individual use only, with protective measures in place.

No matches or other sporting events should take place, with the exception of professional and elite sports; approved inter-county Gaelic games; horse racing and greyhound racing; approved equestrian events; and approved coursing events.

Places of worship can open for services with a maximum of 50 people and up to 25 mourners can attend a funeral.

Museums and galleries can open with protective measures in place and libraries are available for browsing, e-services, and call and collect.

Restaurants and pubs operating as restaurants 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 six people per table while wet pubs can open for delivery and take-away services only.

Pedestrians in Cork city centre on Saturday afternoon.
Pedestrians in Cork city centre on Saturday afternoon.

Hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs can open, but with services limited to residents and hotel restaurants can open to non-residents.

All retail shops and shopping centres can open and all services such as hairdressers, beauticians, barbers and opticians can open with strict adherence to sectoral guidance on protective measures.

People are still being urged to work from home unless absolutely necessary to attend in person.

Schools and creches are open with protective measures, while further, higher and adult education should remain primarily online.

Public transport capacity is limited to 50% and people are still urged to walk or cycle where possible.

Those aged over 70 and the medically vulnerable are advised to continue to exercise personal judgement. It is recommended that they stay at home as much as possible, and to limit engagement to a very small network for short periods of time, while remaining physically distanced.

New guidance for nursing homes visitation provides that, subject to risk assessment in each case, nursing homes residents may receive up to one visit by one person per week under Levels 3 and 4 and up to one visit by one person per two weeks under Level 5.

As per the latest guidelines, face coverings should always be worn in crowded workplaces, in stores and shopping centres, places of worship and on busy or crowded outdoor spaces where there is significant congregation.

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