All the new Covid restrictions coming in on Sunday

The Government has rejected a recommendation from the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) to shut pubs and restaurants at 5pm in favour of an 8pm closing time.
All the new Covid restrictions coming in on Sunday

Kenneth Fox

Updated at 7.30pm

The Government has agreed on additional measures following advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) amid concerns over the Omicron variant.

Nphet met on Thursday afternoon and finalised its recommendations to Government, which are aimed at reducing socialising before and after the festive period.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin addressed the nation on Friday evening, confirming the restrictions which will take effect at midnight on Sunday, December 19th.


Hospitality businesses, including pubs and restaurants, will be subject to an 8pm closing time. This will not extend to takeaways or delivery services.

However, as The Irish Times reports, hotels will be exempt from the early closing time for overnight residents.

The other restrictions currently in place on the sector include:

  • Table service only (no counter service)
  • 1 metre between tables
  • Maximum 6 adults per table (maximum 15 persons when including children aged 12 and younger)
  • No multiple table bookings and no intermingling
  • Masks when not seated at table

Social contacts

People have been asked to limit their social interactions, especially if there will be so-called intergenerational mixing.

As part of the latest measures, ministers approved a change to close contact rules, which will see close contacts of a confirmed case being required to restrict their movements for 10 days if they have not received their booster vaccine.

If the person identified as a close contact has received the additional jab, they will be required to restrict their movements for five days.

Other guidance relating to social mixing include:

  • Visits to private homes should be kept to a maximum of 3 other households (that is, 4 households in total)
  • People should limit their contacts throughout the Christmas/New Year period

Outdoor events

Outdoor events, including sporting events, will be limited to 50 per cent capacity, or 5,000 people, whichever of the two figures is lower.

In a post-announcement press conference, the Taoiseach confirmed religious services will be exempt from the 8pm closure time.

Indoor events

Indoor events will not be permitted to take place after 8pm.

For events before 8pm, a capacity limit of 50 per cent will apply, or 1,000 people, whichever of the two figures is lower.

The requirement for face masks to be worn at all times unless eat or drinking remains in place.


All international arrivals will continue to be required to supply a negative PCR or antigen test on arrival, in line with their vaccination/recovery status.

International passengers will also be advised to take antigen tests for five days after their day of arrival in Ireland.


Weddings may continue after 8pm but will be limited to 100 guests.

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