Last night An Taoiseach made the difficult announcement to the nation that Level 5 restrictions would remain in place until April 5th.
The decision to extend Level 5 restrictions is difficult and will have considerable impact on all parts of our economy and society. However we continue to have an unacceptably high level of disease in the community, so we must continue to suppress the disease.
This cautious, measured approach is being taken in order to:
- Make steady progress, starting with childcare and schools, while avoiding a further wave of disease and re-imposition of restrictions
- Protect the most vulnerable by an efficient rollout of the vaccination programme
- Remain vigilant and agile regarding the uncertainties in the face of new variants and to capitalise on emerging evidence on available vaccines
- Lay the foundations for the full recovery of social life, public services and the economy
For more information on schools returning, click here.
This will be alongside the scaling up of the vaccination programme in line with supply, ensuring that all vaccine doses are administered to target groups as soon as possible. For the information on the updated vaccine allocation strategy click here.
The current public health restrictions will remain in place until 5th April 2021, when a further review will be conducted.
Measures to support business and those unable to work due to the pandemic will be extended further with the EWSS, PUP and Covid enhanced illness benefit applicable to June 30th. For more information on supports click here.
The revised plan for managing the virus – COVID-19 Resilience & Recovery 2021: The Path Ahead setsout how in-school education and childcare services will be reinstated in a phased manner from 1st March.
If the transmission of the virus reaches acceptable levels, the vaccination programme progresses as planned and public health advice allows, further options that will be considered from April 5th are:
- Some easing of restrictions on outdoor activities and meetings beyond 1 other household;
- Consideration of extending the current 5km limit;
- Staggered start of easing of other areas of restriction with a focus on outdoor activities including sport and some areas of construction.
Any further easing of restrictions after 5th April will need a further three to four week period to allow for assessment of the impact of changes.