An Taoiseach Micheal Martin

Taoiseach confirms country to move to Level 3 with some modifications

- Restaurants/GastroPubs to be allowed open for indoor dining from December 4th

- Wet Pubs will remain closed except for takeaway drinks

- Churches will welcome back congregations but with restrictions

- From 1st December masks will be required to be worn on busy outdoor streets/settings

- Children have been an 'inspiration' throughout this pandemic

- Different households should not mix until 18th December

Retail outlets, hairdressers, museums, libraries and gyms open next Tuesday, 1 December the Cabinet has agreed today.

People will also be able to attend religious services with modifications as the country moves to Level 3 restrictions.

On Friday 4th December, restaurants and pubs that have a kitchen and serve food will reopen. Hotels can also reopen their dining rooms to the public from that date.

There was disappointment for owners of so called 'wet pubs' they will only be permitted to serve takeaway drinks.

On Friday, 18 December until 6th January, people can travel around the country. Also from 18 December, up to three households can gather.

Confirming the moves at Government Buildings this evening, An Taoiseach Micheal Martin said "this could not be the kind of Christmas we are used to but it would still be a special time."

Here's An Taoiseach's (edited) statement

"There has been much speculation in media over recent days and weeks about what a meaningful Christmas will look like. Many legitimate voices have been raised to advocate for various sectors and interests.

"Government has considered carefully, the advice of the National Public Health Emergency Team. We've also examined additional research on how the disease has spread and the factors which influence this. We've listened to and studied all of the information available to us.

"And what I would like to do now is spell out as clearly and concisely as possible what the coming period is going to look like. This cannot and will not be the kind of Christmas we are used to, but it will be a very special time when we will all be able to enjoy some respite from the hardships of 2020.

"From the 1st December, we will move to Level 3 of the Government's National Framework for living with Covid-19, with some modifications.

"People must continue to stay within their county. Apart from work, education, and other essential purposes until the 18th of December. People should continue to work from home, unless absolutely necessary to attend in person. Similarly, households should not mix with other households, other than those within their bubble until the 18th of December. On the 18th of December.

"These travel restrictions will be eased for a period of two weeks on the 6th January, during which period people can travel outside their county and meet indoors with up to two other households. Places of worship, will reopen for services on the1st December, with restrictive measures in place. This will be reviewed again in January,

"Museums, galleries cinemas and libraries with protective measures in place will reopen on the 1st December. From the 4th December, restaurants, gastropubs operating as restaurants with their own kitchen and hotels may open for indoor dining with additional restrictions

"In making this decision we are trusting business owners, and we are trusting their customers. We all have individual personal responsibility, and by closely following the rules we believe we can make this reopening sustainable.

"Unfortunately, nothing in the research available to Government supports any further reopening of so called wet pubs at this stage. I know how deeply frustrating this will be for business owners in this sector. I fully accept their goodwill about respecting guidelines. But the reality is that reopening into our hospitality carries risks. And there's only so far, we can safely go.

"I want to reassure them that additional supports, over and above what is currently in place will be made available to owners to help them into the new year, and prepare for their eventual reopening.

"The Government is also updating its guidance on masks. In July, we introduced guidance on wearing masks indoors and this has had an incredibly positive impact. We are now adding to that guidance from the 1st December people will be asked to also wear the masks outdoors on busy streets, within crowded indoor workplaces, and then places of worship.

"We are going as far as we believe is possible it is possible to achieve the best balance of health, economic, and social considerations, but no further. The Government and I are satisfied that this combination of new arrangements strikes a safe balance between maintaining the pressure on the disease, and creating space for families, friends and loved ones to be together this Christmas.

"After Christmas comes the new year. The days will start to lengthen again. And we can face into 2021 with renewed hope. We've all watched with great anticipation. The news of the development of a series of vaccines, showing very promising results, and National Vaccine Task Forces already at work, and it will ensure that as a country, we are ready to move quickly and efficiently to roll out safe vaccines, when they are authorised and available funding and key contracts are in place. distribution will be fast comprehensive and fair.

As we exit from Level 5 restrictions, we do so with a deep desire not to have to go back. And while it will be up to the Government to make those decisions in the months ahead. The power to prevent it rests with each and every citizen in our country.

"We are smart people. We can process information. And each of us knows how to manage risk in our interactions over the coming period. Each one of us has a responsibility to manage risk. After nine months of learning about how this fire is spreading in our community. One overwhelming lesson has emerged. Every contact counts.

"If we want to stop the virus. We must continue to limit contacts outside of a small circle are older people. We deeply cherish and who contribute so much to our society and our nation are particularly vulnerable to this disease. They are relying on the rest of us to be responsible or business, arts and cultural communities are relying on everyone being responsible. That's the only way that we can reach a point of helping them to fully reopen.

"And our children are relying on us to, they've had a very challenging year. And we want them to return the full freedoms of childhood, as soon as possible. And I have a message for our children. I know this is a very special time of year for you. And I know this is a very special night with the Toy Show coming up very soon. But I want to say Thank You. Your strength and the way you've coped with the challenge of Covid is an inspiration. You keep us going and drive us forward. You are the future of this country.

"And we all want to make sure that you have the opportunity to grow and thrive. You're going to hear a lot about Roald Dahl tonight. In keeping with that, remember about the small fox said to their father. The Fantastic Mr Fox. 'We can do it. You see if we can't, you can too'.

|2020 has been a remarkable year. It has been a year, when we've demonstrated extraordinary resilience as a country, and made huge sacrifices for the common good, because of some of those sacrifices. We now have the opportunity to enjoy your different, but special Christmas. We can be with our loved ones. And remember those we've lost. We will come through this together.|

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