TÁNAISTE LEO VARADKAR admitted to suffering from “cabin fever” over the last few weeks under Level 5 restrictions.
This evening, the Taoiseach announced plans for the easing of Covid-19 restrictions in December and throughout the Christmas period.
Cabinet this afternoon approved advice for the reopening of society including the reopening of restaurants, retail and restrictions on household visitors.
When asked what their plans are and would they be availing of a meal in a restaurant over the coming weeks, Varadkar told TheJournal.ie:
“I have to admit to suffering from cabin fever over the last few weeks, so it will have to be the gym, a haircut on Wednesday and a restaurant at the weekend with some friends I haven’t seen for months, and I really cant wait.
“I hope people do make the best of December and enjoy some of the personal freedoms that we have all missed so much. I’m just delighted that people are getting back to work, that businesses are opening, but we do all need to stay safe, and that is down to all of us,” he said.
And the Taoiseach’s Christmas plans?
“I generally tend to fall down during Christmas and just try and relax,” said Micheál Martin.
He said he “may very well” have a meal out in a restaurant over the weeks ahead, but he prefers to be more low-key.
“I actually like the lazy days at home at Christmas, if I’m honest. I enjoy the turkey and love the afters, the following days,” said Martin.
Green Party Leader and Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said he will also head out for a meal, stating: “I am looking forward to it.”
In one of the lighter moments of tonight’s press conference, Varadkar pointed out that the three men had yet to go for dinner together or enjoy a pint together since they entered into government.
If they do break bread together soon, the Taoiseach joked that Ryan could “bring the recyclable plates” – which is just one of the safety recommendations the government says one should consider if having people around for dinner on Christmas Day this year.
The Taoiseach announced tonight that country will move to Level 3 from 1 December, with some modifications.
From next Tuesday 1 December, retailers, hairdressers, gyms, libraries, galleries and cinemas will reopen. People will be permitted to use tennis courts and golf courses, and religious services will also be allowed to resume. Theatres are to remain closed, the Taoiseach confirmed at a press conference after his address.
From Friday 4 December, restaurants and pubs with a kitchen on-site are to reopen, but with additional restrictions than before. Hotels will also be able to open to indoor diners.
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Pubs that only serve alcohol will not be permitted to reopen before Christmas, but will be allowed to serve takeaway drinks.
From Friday 18 December, restrictions on household visits will be lifted from a ban on household visits, to allow two households to visit a third. Inter-county travel will also be permitted from this date, until 6 January.
From 7 January, the measures put in place prior to 18 of December will apply, subject to ongoing review of the trajectory of the virus.