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revealed Government have signed off on three week break on Covid home visit restrictions

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Taoiseach Micheál Martin

Taoiseach Micheál Martin

Taoiseach Micheál Martin

COVID-19 restrictions on home visits are to be eased for almost three weeks over Christmas under Government plans to be announced this evening.

Members of three households will be allowed to meet up and celebrate the festivities between December 18 and January 6.

And there is to be no cap on the number of people from within those three households that can gather together.

Inter-county travel for non-essential reasons is set to be allowed during the same period.

In other measures set to be announced by Taoiseach Micheál Martin, retailers, gyms, cinemas, barbers and hairdressers and churches will all be allowed open from next Tuesday, December 1.

Sports like golf and tennis will be permitted from the same date when the country will essentially be back in Level 3 restrictions.

New advice on the use of face coverings and masks will recommend that they be worn outdoors in crowded places.

And restaurants and pubs with kitchens are set to be allowed open up from Covid-19 restrictions from next Friday December 4.

There will be no time limit on how long people can stay provided the tables in the restaurant or gastro pub are more than two metres apart.

And people will be able to gather in groups of up to six at a table.

It's understood the plans are in line with existing Fáilte Ireland guidelines for restaurants and pubs where time-limited slots are not required if physical distancing of 2 metres is strictly maintained.

However, there will be unrest among some publicans as so-called 'wet-pubs' that don't serve food will only be allowed operate a take-away service.

The Cabinet signed off on plans to exit Level 5 restrictions after a two-hour meeting this afternoon.

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