Non-essential shops to close in Ireland for six weeks under most severe rules

All non-essential shops and household gatherings will be banned in Ireland, as officials put the country under the highest level of Covid-19 restrictions.

As of midnight Wednesday, Ireland will be placed under level five restrictions – the most severe – for six weeks, lasting until December 1.

Under the Government’s five-tier living with Covid roadmap, the toughest restrictions will force all non-essential retail outlets, barbers, hairdressers and salons to close, while gatherings in homes will be banned.

Officials have reportedly stopped just short of imposing a full lockdown, as schools will remain open and elite-level sports and construction will be allowed to continue.

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The public are expected to be asked to work from home where possible and pubs, restaurants and cafes will only be permitted to open for takeaways and deliveries.

Funerals will reportedly be limited to 10 people and a maximum of six people can attend a wedding, according to PA.

Cabinet ministers are also considering whether to ask people to restrict their movements to within five kilometres of their home.

However, outdoor meetings with people from other households will be permitted, according to reports.

The decision to move the country up to level five was taken at a Cabinet meeting at Government Buildings in Dublin on Monday evening, following recommendations from health experts.

It is understood Prime Minister Michael Martin will set out the latest measures in an announcement tonight.

It comes amid a record number of coronavirus cases recorded over recent days, with another 1,031 cases confirmed on Monday, bringing the total to more than 50,000 for the first time.

This is a breaking news story, more to follow…

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