Household visitor restrictions are expected to remain in place for the coming months, even when the incidence of Covid-19 is at a low level.

Currently, no more than six people are allowed to visit a house from no more than three households.

The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has advised that this be reduced in Dublin to six people from two households.

It is understood that under the Government's medium-term Covid plan, household visitor restrictions will remain in place even under the most benign level of the five-level plan.

That is because of public health experts' concerns that the virus is spreading at gatherings in people's houses.

Exact limits on numbers for each level of the plan have yet to be finalised and this will be agreed at Tuesday morning's Cabinet meeting.

It is also expected that the plan will provide for increases in the numbers allowed at outdoor gatherings and sporting events.

NPHET has recommended increases to the number of spectators at matches depending on the incidence of Covid-19.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health has confirmed that it has hired communications firm Teneo to help launch the new roadmap for living with Covid-19.

In a statement, the department said it "engaged the services of Teneo in September 2020 to support the launch of the 'All-of-Government Roadmap for Managing the Covid-19 Pandemic in Ireland'."

It said "the requirement was support to develop the accompanying collateral for the launch".

It said it is a "short-term contract for this occasion".

The 'Living with Covid' plan is due to be unveiled by the Government on Tuesday. 

Elsewhere, the Taoiseach said the Government would have no hesitation in implementing restrictions specific to Dublin if necessary to counter the increase in coronavirus cases in the city. 

Michéal Martin

Speaking on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta this morning, Micheál Martin said the Government had learned from the local restrictions imposed on Kildare, Laois and Offaly.

He said the "important thing about Dublin is how to get to grips with the virus to lower the number of cases and to put pressure on the virus". 

He added that the 'Living with Covid' plan "has flexibility from that side - we can assess the situation from county to county. The very highest level of restrictions is to implement measures on a national basis". 


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Gardaí given powers to shut pubs breaching Covid-19 guidelines

Legislation has come into force giving gardaí legal powers to close pubs and restaurants that do not adhere to public health regulations.

President Micheal D Higgins has signed into law the Criminal Justice Enforcement Powers Covid-19 Bill.

It comes as the acting Chief Medical Officer warned that people in Dublin need to take immediate action to break the chains of transmission of Covid-19.

Additional reporting Fergal O'Brien