Your complete guide to Ireland’s new Covid restrictions – pub closing time, weddings and close contact rule change

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has confirmed the reintroduction of Covid-19 measures stating it was not the news he wanted to share.

From Sunday midnight, all restaurants and bars excluding takeaways or delivery services must close at 8pm.

There should be no indoor events after 8pm and for indoor events scheduled earlier in the day, attendance should be limited to 50% of venue capacity or 1,000 people, whichever is lower.

Attendance at all outdoor events should be limited to 50% of venue capacity or 5,000 people whichever is lower.

Wedding receptions can take place after 8pm but with a capacity limit of 100 guests.

The Taoiseach also gave an update on restricted movement advice for all close contacts of confirmed cases.

For those who have received a booster one week ago, they will have to restrict movement for five days and take three antigen tests.

For people who have not received a booster, they will have to restrict their movement for 10 days.

All people arriving into the country from overseas will be required to have an antigen or PCR test in line with the vaccination or recovery status.

All passengers arriving into Ireland should not be advised to conduct antigen testing on a daily basis for a period of five consecutive days commencing one the day of arrival.

He said: “None of this is easy.

“We are all exhausted with Covid and the restrictions it requires.

“The twists and turns, the disappointments and the frustrations take a heavy toll on everyone.

“But it is the reality that we are dealing with.

“We cannot wish it away, and there is no silver bullet to fix it.”

Mr Martin said the Omicron variant will result in a massive rise in infections.

He said: “The challenge we face, as a Government and a people, is how we slow the rise in infection that is coming and how we prevent it from getting out of control.

“Left unchecked, this new strain will represent a very significant threat to hospital and critical care, but also a threat to all of society and the economy.

Members of the public shopping during the Covid 19 Coronavirus pandemic on Henry Street in Dublins city centre. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

“It spreads so aggressively, throughout all age groups, that we are likely to see infections at a rate that is far in excess of anything we have seen to date.

“It is that serious.

“Once again, I thank from the bottom of my heart all those of you on the frontline of our health system for your extraordinary service over the course of almost two years in dealing with this pandemic.

“You have saved many lives.

“I really cannot over emphasise how important it is for everyone to get vaccinated and get your booster – the science is absolutely clear on the benefits, and the protection it gives us from serious illness, hospitalisation and death.

“The science could not be clearer.

“However, with the Omicron variant it is also becoming clear that vaccines on their own aren’t going to be enough to get through this wave safely.

“The Chief Medical Officer and the National Public Health Emergency Team provided the Government with advice on what we might do as a country to achieve this.

“The need to move quickly and take action to reduce social contact is clear.

“The need to slow the spread of Omicron and get more people boosted is clear.

“The need to act now and prevent many more people getting sick is clear.

“The news this evening will be deeply disappointing for many.

“It is not the news I wanted to bring you, nor is it the news you wanted to hear.

“This Christmas, please be safe and look after each other.”