New Restrictions Explained: He...


New Restrictions Explained: Here's What Level 5 Means


10:02 19 Oct 2020

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A six-week lockdown is to take effect from midnight on Wednesday, the Taoiseach has confirmed.

Micheál Martin said in an address to the nation tonight that the country would be moving to Level 5.

The restrictions will be in place until December 1st, with Mr Martin saying that the success of the measures could mean Christmas would not be cancelled.

Here's what the Level 5 restrictions will mean:


The measures will take effect from midnight on Wednesday and will stay in place until December 1st.


Level 5 means people are asked to stay at home, with exercise permitted within 5km of your residence.

The Government confirmed that there will be a penalty for moving beyond that 5km radius, with exemptions to this for essential work and essential purposes.

Essential purposes include travelling to work if providing an essential service, to attend medical appointments and collect medicines, for vital family reasons, such as providing care to children, elderly or vulnerable people, and in particular for those who live alone.

It also includes attending a wedding or funeral, for farming purposes or to visit a grave.


Schools will be allowed to stay open, as will early learning and childcare services.

Children will be allowed to continue to play sport and train in pods of up to 15 outdoors.


No visits to other people’s homes or gardens are allowed.

However, the measures include an exemption under an "extended household" or "support bubble" concept for certain people to support those at risk of social isolation or mental ill-health.

In those circumstances, one other household can be nominated with whom they can mix.

There are also exemptions to this for weddings, with up to 25 people allowed to attend, and for funerals, with up to ten mourners permitted.

While there should be no organised indoor or outdoor events, it is possible to meet with one other household in an outdoor setting which is not a home or garden, such as a park, including for exercise.

Sporting events and exercise

Elite sport will be allowed to be played even under Level 5, including inter-county GAA and professional sport such as the Six Nations which can go ahead behind closed doors.

Gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools will close.


Construction sites will stay open, but all non-essential retail will close with the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs.

People should work from home - unless it is for working in health, social care or other essential services - and cannot be done from home.

Wage supports

A new band will be added to the Pandemic Unemployment Payment meaning anyone who was earning more than €400 a week before losing their job will get a payment of €350 a week.

The Wage Subsidy Scheme is also being enhanced and there will be five bands now instead of two which will pay employers more to keep staff on.

Bars, cafes, restaurants and retail

All non-essential retail will close and pubs and restaurants will move to takeaway only.

Wet pubs in Dublin will remain closed.

Essential retail and essential services will remain open which include food stores, pharmacies, service stations, laundries and dry cleaners, banks, post offices and credit unions, outlets selling safety supplies and hardware outlets.

Hotels and B&Bs

Hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs may remain open, but only to support the provision of essential services.

Public transport

Public transport will operate at 25% capacity for people providing essential services to get to work.

School transport will be unaffected.


Religious services will be available online.

Museums, galleries and other cultural attractions will remain closed.

Libraries will be available for online services only.

Outdoor playgrounds, play areas and parks will remain open with protective measures.

Vulnerable people

Those aged over 70 and the medically vulnerable are advised to continue to exercise personal judgement.

It is recommended that they stay at home as much as possible, limit engagement to a very small network for short periods of time, while remaining physically distanced.

It is recommended to shop during designated hours only, while wearing a face covering, and to avoid public transport.

Visits to Long Term Residential Care facilities are suspended with the exception of visits required for critical and compassionate circumstances

Additional reporting by Seán Defoe 

Main image: File photo. Credit: Sasko Lazarov/

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Coronavirus Covid-19 Covid-19 Ireland Level 5 Restrictions

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