New COVID restrictions: Here's what you need to know

Around 35% of reported cases are now due to the Omicron variant
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

18.27 17 Dec 2021

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New COVID restrictions: Here's...

New COVID restrictions: Here's what you need to know

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

18.27 17 Dec 2021

Share this article

New restrictions are coming into place from Sunday December 19th to try and stop the spread of coronavirus.

It comes as there were 3,628 further confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ireland on Friday.

There were 420 patients are hospitalised with the virus - of which 105 are in ICU.


And it is estimated that around 35% of reported cases are now due to the Omicron variant.

Under the new restrictions, in place until January 30th:

  • All restaurants and bars - excluding takeaway and delivery services - must close at 8.00pm
  • There will be no indoor events after 8.00pm
  • For earlier indoor events, attendance will be limited to 50% of venue capacity or 1,000 people - whichever is lower
  • All outdoor events should be limited to 50% of venue capacity or 5,000 people - whichever is lower
  • Wedding receptions can take place after 8.00pm, but with a limit of 100 guests

There are also changes to advice for close contacts of a confirmed case of COVID-19.

  • People who received a booster, at least a week prior, must restrict movements for five days and take three antigen tests
  • People who have not received a booster must restrict movements for 10 days

In terms of travel:

  • All people arriving into Ireland from overseas will be required to have a negative antigen or PCR test, in line with their vaccination or recovery status
  • Those arriving in Ireland are advised to conduct daily antigen tests for a period of five consecutive days, beginning on the day of arrival

Addressing the nation on Friday, An Taoiseach Micheál Martin said a 'massive rise in infections' is expected.

"We are still in the early days of this new wave and data is still being collected, but already it is very clear that we are dealing a hugely transmissible strain of the disease - with studies showing that it is many times more transmissible than the Delta variant.

"It is here, in our country - and we are going to see a massive rise in infections.

"Already, in just a few days, more than a third of all new cases in the country are as a result of Omicron.

"The challenge we face, as a Government and a people, is how we slow the rise in infection that is coming and how we prevent it from getting out of control.

"Left unchecked, this new strain will represent a very significant threat to hospital and critical care - but also a threat to all of society and the economy.

"It spreads so aggressively, throughout all age groups, that we are likely to see infections at a rate that is far in excess of anything we have seen to date."

Mr Martin said while he has seen commentary that this is 'déjà vu' from last year, this untrue.

"I understand why some people might feel like that, but it isn’t true.

"This time last year, we couldn’t leave our county. Much of our hospitality sector was closed entirely.

"We are in a much, much stronger place than we were.

"We have one of the very best vaccination rates in all of the world and our booster programme is powering ahead.

"Seeing lines of people waiting for their jab in every corner of the country is an inspiration."

Mr Martin also appealed to people to look after each other this Christmas.

"None of this is easy - we are all exhausted with COVID and the restrictions it requires.

"The twists and turns, the disappointments and the frustrations take a heavy toll on everyone.

"But it is the reality that we are dealing with. We cannot wish it away, and there is no silver bullet to fix it.

"We talk about living with COVID and some believe that this means just going back to how we did things before it arrived.

"It doesn't: It means understanding the disease, monitoring it, making changes when it changes and doing whatever we need to, to protect people’s lives, health and livelihoods."

"As we have done throughout this COVID crisis, we just need to remember that each of us is responsible for all of us.

"We will come through this latest setback as we have come through everything else that COVID has thrown at us - together.

"We may have to dig a little bit deeper to access it this time - but the unique resilience, solidarity and trust in science that has marked Ireland out across the world will get us through this too.

"This Christmas, please be safe and look after each other", he added.

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