The Government has announced a series of new restrictions aimed at tackling the recent surge in Covid-19 cases.

The measures, which were agreed by Cabinet this afternoon, are on top of existing Level 5 measures that were introduced last week.

The measures are in place until the end of January.

Under the latest measures schools will close until the end of the month, except in certain circumstances.

Students preparing to sit their Leaving Certificate exams this year will continue to attend school three days a week, starting from Monday 11 January.

Schools will decide locally which days to open each week. Special education will also remain open, with protections in place.

Higher and further education will move online, except where a project is essential or time sensitive, for example for lab activity or for practical work required during an apprenticeship.

Childcare services, including regulated childminders, will remain closed with the exception of services for vulnerable children and children of essential workers.

Other existing childcare arrangements can continue to operate for vulnerable children and children of essential workers only.

In addition, a household of an essential worker, without an existing childcare arrangement, can form a bubble with another household for the purpose of providing childcare.

Passengers who arrive into Ireland from Britain and South Africa will now need to have a negative PCR test for Covid-19.

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan has said a person arriving into Dublin Airport from Britain or South Africa without a negative PCR test faces a fine of €2,500 or six months in jail.

The Cabinet has said more work will be needed before other Red List countries can be included. 

Meanwhile, a travel ban for passengers from Britain and South Africa has been extended until Saturday. 

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Non-essential construction will stop at 6pm on Friday.

Essential construction projects will be exempt, including health projects specific to Covid-19, housing adaptation grants, repairs critical maintenance for rail and utility projects and roads.

There will also be an exception for education and social housing construction.

Sole traders such a plumbers will be able work on an emergency call-out basis. 

There will also be an exemption for major foreign direct investment projects for exporting.

Non-essential retail will no longer be able to operate click-and-collect services, but can continue to operate on a delivery basis.

Existing orders may be collected.

This does not apply to supermarkets or other essential retailers, such as pharmacies.

What is considered 'essential retail' under Level 5?

Pubs, restaurants and cafes can operate a takeaway or delivery service for food.

However, the sale of alcohol on a takeaway basis is no longer allowed, with the Taoiseach telling publicans to "forget about takeaway pints".

Under the existing Level 5 restrictions people are only able to travel within 5km of their home to exercise. 

People are allowed travel outside their 5km for work, education or other essential purposes.

However, people should work from home unless providing an essential service. A list of essential services can be found here.

All household visits are prohibited, including social visits to gardens, except for essential family reasons or those in your support bubble.

People will be permitted to meet up and exercise with residents from one other household in an outdoor setting.

All non-essential business, including gyms, had been ordered to shut by the close of business on New Year's Eve.


The number of people who can attend a funeral during the period of Level 5 restrictions is ten.

The number of guests allowed to attend weddings has been reduced to six. Religious services will be available online.

An eviction moratorium has been reintroduced.

Hotels, guesthouses and Bed and Breakfasts can remain open, but only for guests who are providing an essential service.

Museums, galleries and other cultural attractions will remain closed, while libraries will be available for online services only.

Visits to long-term residential care facilities are suspended, except in compassionate circumstances.

Public transport will operate at 25% capacity to allow those providing essential services to get to work.