Government moves all of Ireland to Level 3 Covid-19 restrictions

The plan is set to be a strategy across several Government Departments up until 2029.

The Cabinet approved a move into Level 3 Covid-19 restrictions for the entire State on Monday evening, October 5.

This decision was made following a recommendation by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) on Sunday night that Ireland should enter Level 5 Covid-19 restrictions. 

The Level 3 restrictions will come into place on Tuesday at midnight and the country will remain at this level for three weeks until October 27 when it will be reviewed again by Ministers.

Despite NPHET’s advice cabinet felt that Level 3 restrictions with strict enforcement would be sufficient to help lower the cases of Covid-19 in Ireland.

There was a huge public reaction on Sunday night following NPHET’s announcement, with many people feeling that they should not have made their recommendations public until Cabinet had made their decision.

Many also questioned why there was a need to move to Level 5 when NPHET said last Thursday that the data did not warrant any further escalation in restrictions.

Level 5 is the highest level in the ‘Living with Covid-19 Plan’ and would close all non-essential shops. Restaurants and pubs would only be able to offer takeaway, there would be further restrictions on movement and the cancellation of all gatherings except for weddings and funerals.

Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, defended the government’s decision not to move to Level 5 saying it is “the best decision on behalf of the country.”

Minister Donnelly praised NPHET for the work they have done but said that the government must make decisions based on how they will affect Irish society as a whole.

There were 518 confirmed cases of Covid-19 on Monday, October 5, according to Gov.ie. The majority of virus transmissions are happening through close contact with a confirmed case, while community transmission is at 28 per cent.

Chief Medical Officer, Tony Holohan, returned to his post this week after taking time off for personal reasons. 

In reaction to the current number of cases in Ireland, he stressed the importance of doing “everything in our power now to arrest the current trajectory nationally and very substantially suppress the virus back down to a low level of transmission in advance of the winter months.”

Under these new Level-3 restrictions, pubs and restaurants may stay open but they can only offer outdoor seating to a maximum of 15 people at once. They may also continue offering takeaway services. 

Individuals are advised also to stay within their county unless they are travelling for work, education or making other necessary journeys.

Both Dublin and Donegal were in Level-3 already due to a significant number of cases. Further restrictions will not be imposed as of detespite cases still remaining high in these areas.

Aoibhín Meghen

Image Credit: Geograph.ie