Main points: What restrictions have been imposed on Kildare, Offaly and Laois?
Limitations on travel, cafes, pubs and restaurants to shut and new limits on gatherings
The Cabinet on Friday approved a series of specific restrictions for counties Kildare, Offaly and Laois in response to a sharp increase in cases of Covid-19 in these areas.
Over the past 14 days 292 cases of the virus have arisen in Kildare, Laois and Offaly. These represent almost half of all cases detected in Ireland during that time.
The measures, which were recommended by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), were confirmed by Taoiseach Micheál Martin.
The measures are set to come into force at midnight and last for at least two weeks.
Main points of the new restrictions for the midlands
Travel and transport
Residents of Kildare, Offaly and Laois can only travel within their own county, other than for the following reasons:
- To travel to and from work where that work cannot be done from home;
- To attend medical appointments, collect medicines and other health products;
- For vital family reasons, like providing care to children, elderly or vulnerable people, but excluding social family visits;
- For farming purposes, food production or care of animals.
People are asked not to travel into any of these counties, other than for the reasons above, and you need to travel through these counties to get somewhere else.
People are asked not stop in Kildare, Laois or Offaly during a journey unless for essential purposes.
Public and private transport
Residents of these counties should not use public transport unless it is absolutely necessary. And where possible they should not share private vehicles with others from outside their household.
Economic activity and work
Anyone in these counties who can work from home should work from home.
Cafes and restaurants
All cafes and restaurants, including bars operating as restaurants, should only offer takeaway or delivery, or outdoor dining (maximum 15 people with strict physical distancing). Otherwise they should close.
Hotels can remain open but must limit occupancy to essential non-social and non-tourist reasons. Existing guests can remain for the duration of their booking.
All indoor gatherings should be restricted to a maximum of six people from no more than three households, while maintaining physical distancing.
Outdoor gatherings should be limited to a maximum of 15 people, while maintaining physical distancing.
Cultural events and religious services
All cinemas, theatres, casinos, betting shops, bingo halls, gyms, leisure centres, swimming pools, exercise and dance studios must close at midnight.
Attendance at a funeral service and burial or cremation ceremony should be limited to 25 outdoors. Indoor events connected to the funeral are limited to a maximum of six people.
Places of worship remain open for private prayer, while services are to be held online.
No sporting events or matches should take place, with the following exemptions:
- Non-contact training outdoors in a maximum group of 15 people may continue;
- Professional and elite sports and horseracing may continue behind closed doors;
- Inter-county training (maximum 15 people) and fixtures may continue behind closed doors.
Residential and healthcare facilities
Visiting in long-term residential care facilities, acute settings and prisons will generally be suspended in the first instance with the exception of the most critical and compassionate circumstances (for example end of life).
Advice for those over 70 years or medically vulnerable
The over 70s or medically vulnerable are advised to exercise individual judgement, and to stay at home as much as possible, and limit interactions to a very small network for short periods of time, while remaining physically distanced.