Strict new limits on Ireland’s hospitality sector and home visits have been announced by the country’s prime minister.
From Tuesday, 7 December, nightclubs will close until 9 January, and bars will only be allowed to run table service with a maximum of six people per table in both bars and restaurants.
Speaking in a televised address, Micheal Martin said: “The risks associated with proceeding into the Christmas period without some restrictions… is just too high.”
He added that the advice from health officials is “very stark”.
According to Irish broadcaster RTE, Mr Martin said he understood the frustration the restrictions would cause but that “protection of public health is the government’s primary responsibility and we will do whatever is needed to discharge that duty”.
Mr Martin added that it is not about “going back to the days of lockdowns” but, in fact, about adjusting to risk.
RTE said the restrictions included having one metre between tables in bars and restaurants, no multiple table bookings and people must wear masks when not seated.