Tue, 19 Jan 2021

DUBLIN, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- The Irish government announced on Friday night that the country's current Level-5 or the highest COVID-19 restrictions will be lowered to Level-3 on Dec. 1, with some special adjustments designed for the coming Christmas.

Under the Level-3 restrictions, all the non-essential retail outlets and personal services such as barbershops can resume business again, people can move freely so long as they do not travel outside their own county, and gatherings of no more than 15 people may take place outdoors, according to a statement released by the Irish government on its website.

Special arrangements "designed to support people to have a meaningful Christmas" will be conducted in separate stages, said the statement.

On Dec. 1, museums, galleries, libraries and cinemas as well as places of worship will reopen.

From Dec. 4, restaurants and pubs serving food will also be allowed to provide dine-in services with additional restrictions including limited service time for each group of customers, but wet pubs or pubs not serving food will remain closed with only takeaway service being permitted, said the statement.

From Dec. 18 to Jan. 6, people will be allowed to travel outside their county to meet their families for Christmas and mix with up to two other households. Cross-border travel will also be permitted during this period.

The Level-3 restrictions will remain in place for an indefinite period of time depending on how the pandemic will play out in the country, said the statement.

Ireland adopted a level-5 restrictive approach in dealing with the pandemic last month following the outbreak of a second wave of COVID-19 infections.

Under the Level-5 restrictions, the entire country was virtually locked down with minimum movement of people and economic activities being allowed. People are not allowed to travel more than 5 km away from their home unless for work, education and other essential purposes.

The Irish Department of Health said on Friday that a total of 71,699 people had been infected with COVID-19 in Ireland, of whom 2,043 had died from the disease.

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