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Listen: Level 5 Restrictions Extend Until April 5th - Full Details Of New Living With Covid Plan.

: 23/02/2021 - 18:41

Level Five lockdown has been extended until April 5th as the schools are set to re-open next week.

Leaving cert students and the youngest four classes in primary school will return next Monday with others staggered later in March and into April.

Childcare services will also return in phases starting on March 8th.

The new government roadmap for vaccination sees around 4.5 million doses delivered in the second quarter of this year with the Taoiseach saying by the end of June up to 82 per cent of adults will have had their first dose.

The restrictions will be reviewed before Easter, and Micheal Martin says removing the 5k limit will be among the measures considered:

newstalk1835459.mp3, by Ciara Plunkett

File image: Micheal Martin/RollingNews

The full text of the 60 page Recovery & Renewal 2021 - The Path Ahead, is available here:

Schools and childcare

1 March Special schools at 100% capacity
  Junior and senior infants, 1st and 2nd class to return to school
  Final year Leaving Certificate classes to return to school subject to final agreement
8 March Resumption of the ECCE programme and return to school of ECCE-age children
15 March 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th class at primary level
  5th year post-primary students to return to school
29 March Early learning and care, and school-age childcare services to reopen
12 April 1st to 4th years post-primary return to school
 

Economic measures

Pandemic Unemployment Payment Extended to 30 June 2021
Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme Extended to 30 June 2021
COVID-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit Extended to 30 June 2021
Covid Restrictions Support Scheme Extended to 30 June 2021
Suspension of redundancy provisions Extended to 30 June 2021
Commercial rates waiver Extended to 30 June 2021
 

How we can stay on track

Managing new variants New variants will be monitored carefully as schools and childcare reopen
Controlling the virus Bringing the virus numbers down will give us more options
Securing vaccine supply We are working with the EU to secure Ireland's vaccine supply
Decreasing hospitalisations We must reduce the pressure on our health system and frontline workers

The government has today decided to facilitate the safe return of in-school education and childcare services on a cautious and phased basis during March and April.

This will be alongside the scaling up of the vaccination programme in line with supply, ensuring that all vaccine doses are administered to target groups as soon as possible.

The current public health restrictions will remain in place until 5 April 2021, when a further review will be conducted.

Measures to support business and those unable to work due to the pandemic will be extended further.

The impact of these restrictions on the economic, physical and mental well-being of our communities is considerable. An additional €10 million in funding will be made available to meet the increase for mental health services, and a further top-up of €10 million will be made available to enable critical services to continue being delivered to vulnerable groups.

The revised plan for managing the virus – COVID-19 Resilience and Recovery 2021: The Path Ahead sets out how in-school education and childcare services will be reinstated in a phased manner from 1 March, with staggered return throughout March to be concluded after the Easter break on 12 April

The decision to extend Level 5 restrictions is difficult and will have considerable impact on all parts of our economy and society. However, we continue to have an unacceptably high level of disease in the community, so we must continue to suppress the disease. The higher transmissibility of new variants requires all other restrictions to remain in place while these initial services reopen.

This cautious, measured approach is being taken in order to:

  • make steady progress, starting with childcare and schools, while avoiding a further wave of disease and re-imposition of restrictions
  • protect the most vulnerable by an efficient rollout of the vaccination programme
  • remain vigilant and agile regarding the uncertainties in the face of new variants and to capitalise on emerging evidence on available vaccines
  • lay the foundations for the full recovery of social life, public services and the economy

If the transmission of the virus reaches acceptable levels, the vaccination programme progresses as planned and public health advice allows, further options that will be considered from 5 April are:

  • some easing of restrictions on outdoor activities and meetings beyond 1 other household
  • consideration of extending the current 5km limit
  • staggered start of easing of other areas of restriction with a focus on outdoor activities including sport and some areas of construction

Any further easing of restrictions after 5 April will need a further three to four week period to allow for assessment of the impact of changes

The requirement to work from home will continue throughout this period, unless work is an essential health, social care or other essential service or activity that cannot be done from home.

Government’s community support and well-being programmes will continue and employment and business supports will be extended, many of them to June.

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