Published on 30 December 2020
Last updated on 30 December 2020
The government has today agreed that Level 5 as set out in the Plan for Living with COVID-19 will apply nationally.
This will come into effect at midnight tonight, 30 December for all measures, with the exception of non-essential retail and gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools. These businesses should close from close of business on 31 December. Level 5 restrictions will remain in place until midnight on 31 January 2021.
The government has considered a number of factors in arriving at this decision, particularly NPHET concerns that the epidemiological profile of COVID-19 has continued to deteriorate very substantially.
It is recognised that this decision will have an impact on people’s lives and livelihoods, but the clear message is that we must all now stay at home, with the exception of essential purposes, in order to stop the spread of the virus. Supports such as the PUP and the CRSS will continue to be made available to those impacted. A double payment of the CRSS, up to a maximum of €5,000 a week will be available to those subject to restrictions this week and next week. Furthermore, businesses affected will be able to avail of commercial rates relief for the first three months of 2021. The Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) is also available to help maintain people in jobs, along with extensive tax warehousing arrangements, reduced VAT rates, the spend and stay scheme, a range of reduced cost loans, grants and voucher schemes.
The government further agreed that the ban on air travel and passenger travel on ferries from the UK will be extended to 6 January. As a similar new strain has been identified in South Africa, this ban will also apply to South Africa until 6 January.