Taoiseach Micheál Martin has this evening (Wednesday) announced that Donegal will move to Level 4 Covid-19 restrictions along with Cavan and Monaghan.
New restrictions take effect from midnight on Thursday and will remain in place until at least November 10.
This evening's announcement follows news from earlier today that Northern Ireland which has an alarmingly high transmission rate was entering Level 4 restrictions.
Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan have the highest rates in the country, leading to the decision to impose Level 4 restrictions.
Elsewhere in the country, a stricter version of Level 3 will be in place, including no visits to homes or gardens except for those caring for others. In outdoor settings up to six people from no more than two households can meet with adequate social distancing.
The Taoiseach said: "We are on a journey with this virus and we have come to a difficult point in that journey. The numbers of infections in the country are just too high."
Deputy Martin welcomed the measures being taken in Northern Ireland said that the government would continue a coordinated approach with its counterparts across the border.
He added: "This virus knows no borders."
Outlining why the three counties being moved to Level 4 were of particular concern, the Taoiseach said that the national figures for cases per 100,000 in the last 14 days was 190.7. In Monaghan it was 360, in Donegal it was 353 and in Cavan it was 571.
"The implications for hospitals and public health in these areas in obvious and very serious," he said. "So too is the need for an escalation in restrictions in those three counties."
There had been a suggestion that schools would close for at least a fortnight instead of for the traditional one-week Halloween break but that is not the case, at least for now.
So what exactly does Level 4 mean for the people of Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan?
- Schools will remain open for the time being
- No visitors allowed to people's homes or gardens
- No social or family gatherings at any setting outside of the home
- Limit of six guests at weddings
- No more than 25 mourners at a funeral
- No indoor gatherings such as concerts, conferences or cinema showings
- Gatherings of up to 15 people can take place outdoors under strict conditions and with a named event organiser
- Cultural attractions such as museums and galleries to remain closed
- No congregation at religious services. Places of worship can still open for private prayer
- Gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools to remain closed
- Indoor training on a one-to-one basis only. No exercise or dance classes can take place
- Non-contact sport training can continue outdoors in pods of 15 if this can be done in a safe manner
- No matches or sporting events with some exceptions
- Outdoor playgrounds will remain open
- Cafes, restaurants and bars open for takeaway and delivery only, or with outdoor seating of up to 15 people.
- Hotels can only open for existing guests and those on essential business
- Only essential retail or those which operate primarily outdoors can remain open.
- Anyone who can work from home should do so.
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