Ministers discuss tighter restrictions this morning

 

Restaurants and gastro pubs will be told to close on Christmas Eve under plans going to cabinet this morning.

The ban on flights from the UK is also being extended until the end of the year.

It comes as Ministers have been warned Level 5 restrictions will be needed after Christmas.

Last night the Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan made a presentation to the coalition party leaders last night setting out a stark picture of rising case numbers as well as fears over the new strain of the virus emerging from the UK.

He told them Level Five restrictions will be needed at some point after Christmas.

Following the meeting a number of recommendations are going to cabinet today.

From mid-afternoon on Christmas Eve restaurants, gastropubs, hairdressers, barbers, beauticians, cinemas and galleries will have to close.

Non-essential retail will be allowed to remain open.

Sources said there will be supports for those businesses that will have to close, but it's unclear whether these will be new schemes.

The ban on intercounty travel will return from December 27th - however, there will be exemptions for returning to work.

So if someone left Dublin to go home for Christmas, they would be allowed to return to Dublin after the 27th when they are returning to work.

The travel ban on flights from the UK will be extended until at least December 31st, and kept under review.

The details on when restrictions on household visits will tighten will be debated at cabinet this morning.