Taoiseach announces restrictions for Christmas

Taoiseach announces restrictions for Christmas

Taoiseach Michael Martin has addressed the nation on the steps of government buildings once again, just two and a half weeks since his previous address.

It follows a lengthy Cabinet discussion on the introduction of further restrictions for the Christmas break to combat the rise in Covid-19 cases, which Cabinet accepted today.


Surge In Cases

5,419 new cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed this evening.

528 patients are in hospital with the virus, with 110 in intensive care.

The latest figures show the country's 14-day incidence rate has risen to 1,358 cases per 100,000 people.


Carlow has the highest rate, at 2,171.

Omicron: The New 'Variant of Concern'

Meanwhile, Ireland's only Omicron case so far presented for PCR testing before it was designated a variant of concern.

It's expected more cases of the strain will emerge in the coming weeks, with scientists looking at data to see if it's more transmissible, its effect on vaccines, and its severity of symptoms.

It's unknown whether the person who was infected with the strain in Ireland is vaccinated.

New Restrictions Announced This Evening


Among the new guidelines announced are the closure of nightclubs from December 7th to January 9th.

Capacity for indoor events will be reduced to 50%, which includes entertainment, cultural, community and sporting events indoors where people must be fully seated.

The hospitality sector has been hit hard once again, as bars and restaurants must all revert to the situation before October 22nd.

That means it will be table service only with 1 meter between tables, and a maximum of six adults per table.

Strict social distancing rules will be enforced and people must wear masks unless eating or drinking.

People cannot make multiple table bookings while the closing time remains at midnight.

Gatherings in homes have also been restricted to four households at any one time.

Meanwhile, Digital Covid Certs will be extended to gyms leisure centers, and hotel bars, and restaurants with the addition of hairdressers too.

The Pandemic Unemployment Payment will reopen next week to applicants who lose their jobs as a result of these restrictions.

A Commercial Rates Waiver for businesses in the hospitality and live entertainment sector has been confirmed for the first quarter of 2022.


The Department of Health is encouraging people to still get a Covid test if they're traveling into Ireland from overseas.

The Justice Minister says there has been a delay in the introduction of mandatory Covid testing for all passengers arriving into the country.

The measure was supposed to come into effect from today but has been delayed by 48 hours.

It requires all international arrivals to show proof of a negative antigen test taken within the previous 48 hours, or a negative PCR taken within the previous 72 hours.

However, the rule has been delayed as the regulations were not signed in time.