New Covid-19 Restrictions from Christmas Eve

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has announced that the country will return to Level 5 restrictions with adjustments between 24 December and 12 January.

Your guide to the changes

ActivityFrom 24 DecemberFrom 27 DecemberFrom 1 January
Visitors to your home2 other households max1 other household maxNo visitors
Travel outside your countyYesNo – except to return home after ChristmasNo
Restaurants and pubs operating as restaurantsClosed at 3pmClosedClosed
Places of worship50 max until Christmas DayPrivate and online worship only from 26 DecPrivate and online worship only
RetailOpenOpen but with no January salesOpen but with no January sales
Weddings25 max25 max25 on Jan 1-2; max of 6 from Jan 3
HotelsCan serve food to non-guests until 3pmCan provide food to guests onlyCan provide food to guests only

At Level 5, the public health risk means that you will be asked to stay at home, with certain exceptions. There will be no gatherings other than small numbers at funerals and weddings.

Social and family gatherings

If you live alone – you can form a support bubble with another household.

Current provisions (visits from up to 2 other households) remain in place up to and including 26 December.

Visits to private homes/gardens will be allowed from one other household up to and including 31 December. In both cases, for those who are part of a support bubble, the bubble counts as one household.

From 1 January no visitors are allowed in private homes/gardens except for essential family reasons, such as providing care to children, elderly or vulnerable people, or as part of a support bubble.


Up to and including 2 January, 25 guests can attend a wedding ceremony and reception, whether indoors or outdoors.

From 3 January, up to 6 guests are permitted.

Organised indoor gatherings

These are controlled environments with a named event organiser, owner or manager.

For example: business, training events, conferences, events in theatres and cinemas or other arts events (excluding sport).

No organised indoor gatherings should take place.

Organised outdoor gatherings

These are controlled environments with a named event organiser, owner or manager. For example: outdoor Arts events, training events.

No organised outdoor gatherings should take place.

Exercise and sporting events

Outdoor golf and tennis are permitted.

Training and matches

No training or matches should take place, with the following exceptions:

  • non-contact training in pods of up to 15 may take place outdoors
  • professional, elite sports, horse-racing and greyhound racing are permitted to continue behind closed doors

All other training activities should be individual only.

No exercise or dance classes are permitted.

Gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools

Gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools may remain open for individual training only.

Religious services

Christmas religious services may take place.

Religious services will move online after 25 December.

Places of worship may remain open for private prayer.


Up to 10 mourners can attend.

Museums, galleries and other cultural attractions

All venues closed.

Libraries will be available for online services only.

Bars, cafes and restaurants (including hotel restaurants and bars)

Restaurants and pubs operating as restaurants will close at 3pm on 24 December.

Hotels may provide food and bar services to guests only after that point.

Wet pubs


Nightclubs, discos, casinos

Nightclubs, discos and casinos will remain closed.

Hotels and accommodation

Hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs may remain open, but only for essential non-social and non-tourist purposes.

Hotels may provide food and bar services to guests only after 3pm on 24 December.


Guests who already have a booking and are due to check in up to and including 26 December.

Retail and services (for example: hairdressers, beauticians, barbers)

Face coverings must be worn.

All retail and essential services will remain open. This includes food shopping and marts.

The retail sector is asked to defer January sales events.

All other personal services, such as hairdressers, beauticians and barbers, are closed.


You should work from home unless essential for work, which is an essential health, social care or other essential service and cannot be done from home.

Domestic travel restrictions

Stay at home.

Exercise as close to home as possible.

Travel outside your county will continue to be permitted up to and including 26 December. Those away from their place of residence after that period will be permitted to return to their place of residence.

From 27 December you must stay within your county unless you need to leave for essential purposes, as follows:

  • travel to and from work, where work involves providing an essential service
  • to attend medical appointments and collect medicines and other health products
  • travel to attend disability day services
  • travel to attend a court
  • for vital family reasons, such as providing care to children, elderly or vulnerable people, and in particular for those who live alone but excluding social family visits
  • for farming purposes (food production or care of animals)
  • to attend a wedding or funeral
  • to visit a grave

Schools and creches

In line with current NPHET advice in respect of Level 5, schools, early learning and childcare services will continue to remain open and are deemed essential.

Higher and adult education

Primarily online with exemptions for essential onsite activities.

Outdoor playgrounds, play areas and parks

Open with protective measures in place.


Face coverings must be worn.

Walk or cycle where possible.

Public transport will operate at 25% capacity for the purposes of allowing those providing essential services to get to work.

School transport is unaffected.

Social work and care services

In line with NPHET advice on Level 5, social work and social care services, (including disability services, mental health services, child protection and welfare services, domestic, sexual and gender-based violence services) and homeless services including homeless outreach services will remain open and are deemed essential.

Over 70 and medically vulnerable individuals

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.

When taking exercise outdoors, it is important to maintain 2 metres distance from others and wash hands on returning home.

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

Visiting long-term residential care facilities (nursing and care homes)

Suspended, with the exception of visits required for critical and compassionate circumstances.

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