Covid-19 restrictions

  • Mayo Leisure Point, Mayo Movie World and Hogs Heaven Bar in Castlebar all closed their doors last night, as level 3 Covid restrictions came into effect.

    55 staff have been let go from the Castlebar business as a result, while the Castle Leisure Club will remain open, with strict regulations in place.

    The cinema and bowling alley complex will celebrate its 27th year in business next month.

    Owner Cora Mulroy says she does not see how closing their business - which was complying with all public health guidelines - will have any significant impact in tackling the coronavirus.

  • "The 5km travel restriction is bordering on the ridiculous" - that's according to Mayo Senator Lisa Chambers.

    She was one of a number of Oireachtas members who called at last night's Fianna Fail parliamentary party meeting for the lifting of the 5km restriction from 5th April .

    There were also calls for non-team sports such as golf and tennis to be allowed re-commence, and for public attendances to be allowed at Masses.

    Taoiseach Micheal Martin acknowledged people are "fed up" but said the country's progress remains "fragile".

    The Taoiseach said a comprehensive statement will be made next week on the level of Covid-19 restrictions that will apply for the period ahead.

    Meanwhile, the Higher Education Minister says some Covid restrictions will ease next month but it won't be much.

    Simon Harris has suggested the 5 kilometre rule will change, as he says it's driving people 'absolutely bonkers'.

  • An Achill publican does not believe it will be feasible for many pubs in rural Ireland to reopen in June, under proposals being put forward by representatives of the pub trade.

    The Vintners Federation of Ireland and the Licensed Vintners Association are meeting with Government officials this week to push for pubs to be allowed to reopen at the end of June, in line with restaurants and cafés, rather than in August as is currently planned.

    The vintners groups have proposed limiting capacity in pubs to allow for social distancing, operating a table service only and banning live music and DJs.

    However Alan Gielty, Chairman of the Mayo branch of the Vintners Federation of Ireland, says the proposals are not feasible for many pubs, as limiting capacity and hiring extra staff would put further pressure on revenues.

    Mr Gielty, who runs Gielty's Clew Bay Bar & Restaurant in Dooagh, Achill, says the last thing he wants is for pubs to reopen, and have to close again if there's a further wave of coronavirus.

    He says protecting public health is the top priority, and pubs should not open until it's safe to do so.

  • Ireland's four Archbishops have called for a meeting with the Taoiseach, to discuss allowing people to return to Mass, under level 3 Covid restrictions.

    Religious services have moved online under the current restrictions.

    In a letter to the Taoiseach, the Archbishop of Tuam Michael Neary,  Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin and Archbishop of Cashel and Emly Kieran O'Reilly have expressed concern about the impact the restrictions are having on the church.

    They say while they fully support the guidance of the public health authorities, they wish to "engage constructively with the civil authorities" to ensure that people can continue to gather for mass and the sacraments.

    The Archbishops have requested a meeting with Micheál Martin in the coming days.

    The issue was also raised in the Seanad yesterday by Galway-based Senator Ronán Mullen, who claimed the level 3 restrictions were unfairly harsh on religious services.

  • The country's Archbishops are calling for Catholics to lobby their TDs to fast-track the return of normal Church services.

    In a joint statement issued yesterday evening, the Bishops said they strongly believe people's freedom to worship publicly should be restored as soon as the current Level 5 restrictions being to be eased, saying it's been clearly demonstrated that church buildings are among the safest places for people to gather.

    The Bishops say that, for people of faith not to be free to worship until restrictions return to level 2 is distressing and unjust.

    They've also called for the number of mourners permitted at funerals to be increased with immediate effect, noting that in Northern Ireland this number has not been reduced below 25.

    The Bishops are encouraging Catholics to make their views on these issues known to their local TDs.

    The Taoiseach says he's 'surprised' at their statement, and is unable to make any guarantees about when Masses can return.

    Masses are currently online only under level 5 restrictions - except for private prayer, small funerals and weddings.

    The Bishop of Achonry Paul Dempsey, says public worship should be restored when level 5 restrictions end......

  • The Cabinet has agreed to move the entire country to Level 3 restrictions from midnight tomorrow night.

    This marks the first time the Government has rejected significant public health advice from NPHET.

    The National Public Health Emergency Team had recommended that the country move to Level 5 restrictions, but this has been rejected by the Cabinet.

    The restrictions will be reviewed in three weeks time.

    Wet pubs outside Dublin are set to remain open under level 3, but no indoor seating permitted in pubs.

    Instead, there will be a maximum of 15 customers allowed outdoors.

     

     

     

  • A Cabinet meeting gets underway at 4pm to sign-off on tighter restrictions to slow the spread of Covid-19.

    An official announcement is expected later this evening or tonight.

    It's expected that schools will stay open, but most non-essential retail will close under the new restrictions.

    This will mean hairdressers, barbers, beauticians, gyms, swimming pools and non-essential retail outlets closing, possibly for up to 4 weeks.

    Some Ministers have suggested there needs to be a lead-in period of a number of days for the new restrictions, to allow businesses to make plans.

    This might mean the new restrictions not coming into force until the middle of the week.

    Travel limits are also being discussed, with people potentially being limited to going no further than 5 or 10 kilometres from their homes, while pubs and restaurants will be limited to a takeaway service only .

    Limiting the hours off-licences can open is also under consideration.

    However, schools and construction sites will remain open, while the GAA championship and elite sport are set to continue.

  • The Cabinet is meeting this lunchtime, to make final decisions on what restrictions can be eased over the next month.

    It looks now as though no restrictions will be eased on April 5th as the Government adopts a more cautious approach, after a stark warning from NPHET last night about the risks of a fourth wave.

    Ministers have said they want nothing to endanger the full re-opening of schools on the 12th - and so any easing of other restrictions will be done on a phased basis through the month of April.

    That will include allowing people to travel within their county, the phased return of construction starting with home building, and the return of underage sport training.

    Golf and tennis are set to be allowed, along with meet-ups with one other household in an outdoor setting.

    Taoiseach Míchéal Martin will address the nation later, to announce their decisions.

     

     

  • The Cabinet Covid-19 subcommittee meets today to consider introducing graduated fines to enforce Covid-19 restrictions.

    The National Public Health Emergency Team wrote to Government last night to say they remain deeply concerned about the rising number of Covid-19 cases.

    It has concerns, but did not recommend further restrictions following a meeting yesterday.

    Meanwhile,  the Health Minister says he did not leak the information about NPHET asking for level five restrictions to be introduced last weekend.

    Minister Stephen Donnelly was questioned in the Dáil last night, after it emerged he knew public health officials were considering upping restrictions  - long before some of his Government colleagues.

    The Minister informed the Taoiseach of a potential move to level four before NPHET met on Sunday.

    But Stephen Donnelly insists no one had mentioned the possibility of level five:

  • Castlebar Celtic are reminding the general public that due to HSE guidelines and Covid-19 restrictions Celtic Park is closed.

    The club have installed CCTV and it is operational in all parts of the grounds.

    Any groups or individuals found gaining access to the facility notably their grass pitch will be asked to leave and/or Gardaí will be notified.

  • The Chief Medical Officer has given his strongest indication yet that Covid-19 restrictions won't be lifted, as planned, next Tuesday.

    The National Public Health Emergency Team is due to advise Government tomorrow about whether any measures can be eased.

    However, the Chief Medical Officer gave the strongest hint yet at his daily press briefing last night that he won't be recommending any easing of the measures.

    Dr. Tony Holohan said as things stand, he wouldn't be advising anything be lifted next week.

    It comes as 31 more deaths were reported from Covid-19, with over 20,000 confirmed cases across the country - including 478 cases now in Mayo, 351 in Galway, 148 in Roscommon and 116 in Sligo.

     

  • The Chief Medical Officer is currently meeting with the coalition party leaders to discuss escalating nationwide COVID restrictions.

    The National Public Health Emergency Team has recommended moving the entire country to Level 5 - the highest level of restrictions possible.

    Dr Tony Holohan is making his case to the coalition party leaders, and the advice may then be considered by the cabinet sub-committee and the Covid steering group of officials before being put to a full cabinet meeting later.

  • The Taoiseach says people should expect tight Covid 19 restrictions to continue until at least early April.

    Micheál Martin says some classrooms and construction will reopen over the next few weeks.

    But he's warning case numbers are still too high for the majority of restrictions to ease.

    The current covid measures were due to end on the 5th of March.

    But the Taoiseach says people can assume most of them will continue until Easter..

  • The Tánaiste says the current restrictions on movement may well be extended beyond Easter Sunday.

    The cabinet sub-committee is meeting today to discuss the impact of the rules that were put in place last Friday evening.

    They're due to end on April 12th, but Minister Simon Coveney says they may well go on beyond that.

  • A Government Minister is advising people against booking foreign holidays this Summer for now, but hopes to see international travel resume within months.

    The Minister for European Affairs says their priority is the reopening of the domestic tourism market, but he says international travel - including foreign holidays - could be on the cards later in the Summer with the introduction of the EU digital green certificate.

    Speaking with Midwest News this lunchtime, Minister Byrne said public health has to come first, and non-essential travel abroad is illegal at present, but he's hopeful that international travel can resume later in the Summer.....

  • The Football Association of Ireland have pushed back their AGM until September.

    Irish football's governing body say they've "rescheduled in line with COVID-19 restrictions" and say the move will allow time for auditors Grant Thornton to prepare accounts.

    The F-A-I has sought further financial assistance from the government to ensure their "continued viability".

    The association's board chairman Roy Barrett has also informed council members that an EGM will be held in the "near future" to make changes to their rule book and constitution.

  • The Taoiseach says plans for a further easing of Covid-19 restrictions from May will be announced in the coming days.

    It's expected restrictions on inter-county travel will be lifted at some point in June, and hotels and guesthouses could reopen.

    While there's increasing confidence in Government that non-essential retail could return next month.

    Micheal Martin says Cabinet will set out a plan in the next few days.

  • The GAA have clarified a number of issues after the Government’s decision that no spectators should attend sporting fixtures.

    Croke Park have said that no more than 40 persons per team is allowed at a game -  which includes players and all the backroom team.

    As games must be played "behind closed doors", and pending further clarification from Government, the GAA says no more than 40 persons per team should be allowed access to games for the moment. This figure should include all players, management, coaches, ancillary backroom personnel and team officials. 

    “The 80 team personnel (40 per team) is in addition to essential match day personnel such as Match officials (Referees, Linesmen, Umpires), Media and event officials (stewards etc.)

    The GAA also says that, while they await further clarification on the issue of parents attending juvenile games, they're suggesting that one parent or guardian may attend a game where they consider it necessary for the welfare of their own child.

     

  • The Government is to announce new restrictions on hospitality and travel this afternoon.

    It comes amid a concerning rise in the number of new cases of Covid-19 and the new strain of the virus in the UK.

    From early afternoon on Christmas eve much of the hospitality sector will close including pubs and restaurants.

    Hairdressers, barbers, beauticians, cinemas and galleries will close as well - but gyms and non-essential retail will be allowed to stay open with tighter restrictions on how many people are allowed in-store.

    From midnight on St Stephen's Day inter-county travel will be banned, although people will be able to return home from wherever they are after that date.

    The ban on travel from the UK will be extended until at least December 31st.

    Household visits will also be phased down over the next two weeks.

     

     

  • The Government looks set to reject NPHET's recommendation that the country be moved  level five restrictions.

    Instead, it's understood every county will be placed on level three from midnight.

    There will also be proper monitoring and enforcement of those restrictions.

    The Cabinet is set to approve the measures at a meeting at 5.30pm.