The Irish Government has announced plans to tighten its coronavirus restrictions in Dublin.
Only pubs that serve food and restaurants with outdoor facilities may be permitted to open, while sporting events will also be prohibited.
Irish premier Micheal Martin announced that Dublin would move to risk level three of the Government’s blueprint plan to deal with Covid-19.
He warned that without further “urgent and decisive action” there was a very real threat that Dublin could return to the worst days of the crisis.
“But this is not inevitable. I understand how frustrated people are, how much we all want to put this pandemic behind us. But we have to remember, it is still deadly and we have to take action,” he added.
Under the new restrictions, which come into effect from midnight on Friday into Saturday, six visitors to private homes, including gardens, will be permitted from one other household only.
All organised indoor gatherings have been banned and outdoor gatherings should have a maximum of 15 people.
Restaurants and cafes, including pubs serving food, will close to indoor dining but can remain open for takeaway and delivery.
They can also remain open for outdoor dining for a maximum of 15 people.
Visits to care home facilities have also been suspended, with the exception of critical and compassionate circumstances.
People living in the capital are advised to stay within the county, unless they need to travel for work, education and other essential purposes.
People outside of Dublin are being advised not to travel into the county except for work, education and other essential purposes.
The Government has also banned social or family gatherings, although weddings and funerals can take place but with restrictions.
The number of people at weddings and funerals will be limited to 25 from Monday, but weddings taking place this weekend can have 50 guests.
The restrictions come after health experts issued strong warnings in recent weeks about the spike in Covid-19 cases across Dublin.
The Taoiseach also addressed criticisms that indoor dining was prohibited in Dublin, despite few cases being linked to restaurants.
“The fact is that while we are seeing a lot of cases spreading in people’s homes, the initial infection is taking place outside the home and in the community,” he added.
“We need to keep the disease out of people’s homes in the first place.
“Our decision to act now on indoor dining is not any reflection on business owners who have done everything that was asked of them.
“We are doing this because we want to minimise the number of places where people can congregate and where the disease can spread for the next three weeks.”
Earlier this week, the Government announced its medium-term plan which is structured around five different levels of restrictions, numbered from one to five.
Every county in Ireland was given a status two risk level but several additional restrictions have been applied to Dublin.
Earlier this week, acting chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn warned that the coronavirus situation had “deteriorated nationally”.
He said 50% of Thursday’s cases were in Dublin.
“We are now seeing a higher proportion of cases in older age groups,” he added.
“Act now to save lives. Limit your contacts as much as possible. Assume you and those you meet are infectious, keep your distance and do your part to keep others safe.”
Deputy Irish premier Leo Varadkar warned that the number of Covid-19 cases in Dublin was getting serious again.
“We’ve seen a marked increase in the number of Covid cases confirmed in Ireland, particularly, though not exclusively, in the Dublin area, where the number of new cases has trebled in the space of two weeks,” he said.
The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment also announced a number of funding initiatives to help Dublin businesses.
He said: “Some people have sadly been laid off for a second time in one year. For some businesses who were just getting up and running again, having to close again and starting to wonder if their businesses can ever survive.
“For people who might be laid off today or tomorrow, I want to assure you that you are eligible for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment and in some cases your employer may decide to keep you on for those three weeks using the wage subsidy (scheme).
“For businesses, I know this is going to be really tough. It’s not what you expected this September and we are going to stand behind you.”
Level three restrictions:
– Visitors to your home from one other household or your own household only
– No social gatherings should take place in other settings
– Up to 25 guests can attend a wedding ceremony
– No indoor gatherings should take place
– Up to 15 people at outdoor events
– No sporting matches to take place
– Sports training permitted outdoors in pods of up to 15, excluding professional sports
– Gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools can open for individual training only
– Religious services to move online
– Additional restrictions for indoor dining at bars, restaurants and cafes