An Taoiseach Micheál Martin has confirmed this evening that the State will enter Level 5 from Wednesday night for a period of six weeks.
In an address to the nation, he said that if people stick by the spirit of the new restrictions, they will be lifted on 1 December and we will be able to enjoy Christmas.
The new restrictions affect ‘non-essential’ businesses which have to close from Wednesday night, and people will be asked to remain within 5km of their homes.
Attendance at weddings will be limited to 25 people and those who can work from home must do so.
The Taoiseach said that a zero-Covid approach is not possible or realistic due to our proximity to Britain and the European mainland, and he also ruled out herd immunity, saying that this is not something the government will pursue.
The previous restrictions brought in by the Government – some of the strictest in Europe – have not been enough to slow the spread of the virus quickly enough, he said.
An Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that every Christmas is important, but this year, it is particularly so.
“Each of us have our own rituals for Christmas. And they will take on an extra poignancy this year,” he said.
“As we remember those who didn’t survive 2020, not only those who have been taken by the virus, but also all those who’ve passed away this year, and didn’t get to wakes and funerals and goodbyes that we as a people are so good at, and which they deserved.
“It won’t be the same Christmas that we’ve enjoyed in years past, but if we all pull together, and follow the spirit of these new rules, it will be a very special time, and will give us all some respite from the hardship of the last seven months.
“If each of us does what is asked of us for a period of just six weeks, we will suppress this virus, and we will emerge from these restrictions on the first of December.”