Restrictions: Taoiseach announces 8pm hospitality closing time, 50% capacity limit for events

The measures come after recommendations from the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) amid concern over the Omicron variant.
Restrictions: Taoiseach announces 8pm hospitality closing time, 50% capacity limit for events

Muireann Duffy

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has warned Ireland is going to see a massive rise in infections on account of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

Addressing the nation, Mr Martin confirmed the following additional measures:

  • Restaurants and bars will close at 8pm (does not extend to takeaways and delivery services)
  • No indoor events after 8pm, including cinemas and theatres
  • Indoor events before 8pm will be limited to 50 per cent capacity, or 1,000 people (whichever figure is lower)
  • Hotels will be exempt from the 8pm closure for overnight guests
  • Outdoor events (including sporting events) will be limited to 50 per cent capacity, or 5,000 people (whichever figure is lower)
  • Weddings may continue after 8pm, but are limited to 100 guests
  • Close contacts of confirmed cases will be required to restrict their movements for five days if they have received their booster jab
  • Close contacts of confirmed cases who have not yet received their booster jab will be required to restrict their movements for 10 days
  • 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
  • All international passengers will be advised to take antigen tests for five days after their day of arrival in Ireland

The measures will come into effect on Sunday, December 19th, remaining in place until January 30th. The Irish Times reports the measures will be reviewed on January 11th.

Cabinet met earlier this evening to sign-off on the restrictions which aim to limit socialising and large gatherings over the Christmas period.

The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) met on Thursday to finalise their advice for Government, making their series of recommendations to curb the spread of the virus.

Among Nphet's advice was a 5pm closing time for the hospitality sector and limits on the number of people permitted at sporting events. However, at a meeting of the Cabinet earlier this evening, ministers rejected the 5pm closing time, instead agreeing on 8pm.

Earlier, many TDs and Senators from the coalition parties spoke out against the 5pm closing time for pubs and restaurants, with Fine Gael TD Brendan Griffin calling the recommendation "an insult to our businesses people and workers in hospitality".

The announcement follows the Department of Health's confirmation of 3,628 new cases of the virus on Friday evening. The chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan has also confirmed the Omicron variant now accounts for 35 per cent of new cases in the State.

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more