The government has decided today that, with immediate effect, the entire county of Dublin will be placed on Level 3 of the Framework for Restrictive Measures. This action is based on a review of the current public health advice and is in response to the deteriorating situation with the virus in Dublin over the past number of weeks.

The rest of the country remains at Level 2 of the Framework.

Dublin will remain at Level 3 for a period of 3 weeks, until Friday 9 October, at which point the situation will be reviewed by the government, based on the status of the virus and the pertinent public health advice. The measures come into place at midnight tonight (Friday).

NPHET advice

The Government decision was guided by advice from NPHET and followed detailed consideration at Cabinet.

NPHET has advised that the level and pattern of cases in Dublin is very different to anywhere else in the country. The high incidence rate and high growth rate means that the force of infection is currently 3-5 times greater than the rest of Ireland. NPHET advises there is now a very real risk of widespread transmission both across County Dublin but also to other areas of Ireland.

The NPHET recommendations are targeted specifically at limiting social contacts and reducing congregation. Given the severity of the epidemiological situation in Dublin, NPHET concluded that there is a necessity to apply measures at the limit of the options available under Level 3.

Placing Dublin at Level 3 has the following implications for those living or working in Dublin:

  • Visitors to private homes and gardens should be limited to a maximum number of 6 from one other household.
    • No social/family gatherings should take place, with exemptions to this for weddings and funerals (see below).
  • No organised indoor gatherings should take place.  Organised outdoor gatherings are permitted, up to a maximum of 15 people.
  • People living in Dublin should remain in the county (i.e. they must not leave Dublin to travel either domestically or internationally), with the exception of those whomust travel for work, education and other essential purposes.
  • People living outside of Dublin should not travel to Dublin, with the exception of those who must travel for work, education and other essential purposes.
  • People working in Dublin are asked to work from home unless absolutely necessary.
  • Schools, Early Learning and Childcare services should remain open.  Adult and Higher Education Institutions should remain open, but are asked to review protective measures and take steps to limit congregation as much as possible.
  • You are asked to walk or cycle where possible so that public transport is available for use by essential workers and for essential work only.
  • Sports
  • No matches or other sporting events should take place, with the exception of professional, elite, inter county and senior club championship – all to take place behind closed doors.
  • Horse racing may continue, but behind closed doors.
  • Non-contact training activities can continue in the outdoors and in pods of up to 15, with certain exemptions (see below).
  • Indoor training should be confined to individuals only and no classes are to take place.
  • All retail shops and shopping centres may remain open.  All services such as hairdressers, beauticians, barbers, opticians etc. may remain open.
  • Libraries will be available for e services and call and collect.
  • All outdoor playgrounds, play areas, parks remain open.
  • Gyms/leisure centres, swimming pools may remain open for individual use only and with protective measures.
  • Hotels, Guesthouses and B&Bs may remain open, but with services limited to residents.
  • The Framework allows for some flexibility in a number of measures in Level 3. Where the incidence of the disease is rising, it is necessary to have the option to respond on a proportionate basis, reflecting the nature of the increase. Level 3 allows for a range of restrictions on indoor dining, including limitations on groups gathering, reduced capacity and earlier closing times or a complete restriction on indoor dining
  • All options within that range were considered on this occasion. However, given the severity of the situation with the virus in Dublin, the public health advice is, on balance, that there is now a necessity to apply measures at the limit of the options available under Level 3 which is to no longer permit indoor dining.  Restaurants and Cafes (including bars/pubs serving food) may remain open for take-away and delivery and outdoor dining to a maximum of 15 people.
  • Those aged over 70 and the medically vulnerable are advised to continue to exercise personal judgement.
    • It is recommended that they stay at home as much as possible, limit engagement to a very small network for short periods of time, while remaining physically distanced.
    • When taking exercise outdoors, it is important to maintain 2 metres distance from others and wash hands on returning home.
    • It is recommended to shop during designated hours only, while wearing a face covering, and to avoid public transport.
  • Religious services will move online, though places of worship may remain open for private prayer.
  • All indoor museums, galleries, cinemas and other cultural attractions should close.
  • As the new restrictions come into force from midnight, Culture Night will go ahead on Friday 18th September as planned.
  • Activities associated with the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) will also proceed as planned.

Business Supports

In recognition of the impact of these restrictions on businesses in Dublin, the Government has also decided to provide for a 30% top-up to the Restart Plus grant to help support those affected through the three-week period.  Businesses who have previously benefited from the Restart Grant will be eligible to re-apply for this top-up.  This will be available immediately through the normal application process at an estimated additional cost of €30m.

In addition, applications from Dublin will be prioritised for the wide range of existing loan and voucher schemes available to assist businesses affected by Covid-19.

Other employment and income supports, including the Pandemic Unemployment Payment and Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme, as well as the full range of employment, training and support services for affected workers, will also continue to be made available and funded by the Government.

Restrictive measures

The priority is to keep schools and early learning and childcare services open and minimise disruption in the work force.

Social and family gatherings

In your home or garden

A maximum of 6 people from 1 other household can visit your home.

Other settings outside your home or garden

No social or family gatherings should take place in other settings.


Up to 25 people can attend a wedding ceremony and reception. (These measures come into place on Monday 21 September.)

Organised indoor gatherings

These are controlled environments with a named event organiser, owner or manager.

For example: business, training events, conferences, events in theatres and cinemas or other arts events (excluding sport).

No organised indoor gatherings should take place.

Organised outdoor gatherings

These are controlled environments with a named event organiser, owner or manager. For example: outdoor arts events, training events.

Gatherings of up to 15 people can take place.



Outdoors: Non contact training only in pods of up to 15 (exemption for professional/elite/inter-county sports/senior club championship).

Indoors: Individual training only. No exercise or dance classes.

Matches and events

No matches or events to take place.

Exemption: professional/elite/inter-county/club championship/horse-racing can take place behind closed doors.

Gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools

Gyms/leisure centres/swimming pools open with protective measures, for individual training only.

Religious services

Services move online. Places of worship remain open for private prayer.


Up to 25 mourners can attend. (These measures come into place on Monday 21 September.)

Museums, galleries and other cultural attractions

All venues closed.

Libraries will be available for e-services and call and collect.

Bars, cafes and restaurants (including hotel restaurants and bars)

Restaurants and cafes (including bars/pubs serving food) may remain open for take-away and delivery and outdoor dining to a maximum of 15 people.

Wet pubs

These will remain closed.

Nightclubs, discos and casinos

Nightclubs, discos and casinos will remain closed.

Hotels and accommodation

Hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs may remain open, but with services limited to residents.

Retail and services (for example: hairdressers, beauticians, barbers)

There is specific guidance available for:


Work from home unless absolutely necessary to attend in person.

Domestic travel

Stay in the county of Dublin apart from work, education and other essential purposes, if appropriate.

Schools, early learning and childcare services, adult and higher education

Schools and creches are open with protective measures.

Further, higher and adult education to escalate all appropriate protective measures and limit congregation as far as possible.

Outdoor playgrounds, play areas and parks

All remain open with protective measures in place.


Walk or cycle where possible.

Public transport capacity will be limited to 50%.

Essential workers and essential purposes only.

Those aged over 70 and the medically vulnerable

Those aged 70 years and over and the medically vulnerable should exercise judgement regarding the extent to which they engage with others and in activities outside home.

Specific guidance will be provided.

Long-term residential care facilities (nursing and care homes)

Visits suspended, aside from critical and compassionate circumstances.

Speech by An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin TD

Dia dhaoibh.

This evening, all across Europe, the Covid 19 virus is regaining its foothold and spreading at a rate not seen since March and April.

In the past two weeks alone, the majority of countries have seen a doubling of new cases. And on our island, while the pattern varies in different counties, the threat is growing.

Here, in our Capital, despite people’s best efforts over recent weeks, we are in a very dangerous place.

Without further urgent and decisive action, there is a very real threat that Dublin could return to the worst days of this crisis.

But this is not inevitable.

I understand how frustrated people are – how much we all want to put this pandemic behind us – but we have to remember it is still deadly and have to take action.

It is only we as a people, working together and making the sacrifices that are being asked of each one of us that we can slow the new wave of the virus.

As well as being Taoiseach, I am also a father, a husband, a brother, a sports fan, someone who likes a pint with my friends.

I know how exhausting, how infuriating, how lonely it has been and still is for so many of our people as we try to manage this.

I know the havoc that the virus is causing for some sections of our economy, and the hardship that it is causing in particular within our hospitality trade and in our arts and culture community. And I know that we must take new action to help them.

But I also know this, my first and most important obligation, and that of Government, is to protect you.

This virus kills. It kills more old people than young, but it kills young people too. And the ones it doesn’t kill, it leaves many of them sick and disabled for months. At least.

I know that the additional restrictions that are needed for Dublin will make many people angry, but we have received very clear advice that these restrictions will help reduce the spread of the virus and save lives.

Every decision we make and every measure we introduce, we do so in an effort to protect the most vulnerable, to resume and maintain normal health and social care services and to keep our children in school. We also need to keep as many people as possible working.

And so, from midnight tonight, and on the advice of the National Public Health Emergency Team, Dublin city and county will move to Level 3 of the Government’s Framework for Restrictive Measures for a period of three weeks.

This new status will include but not be limited to the following restrictions:

• Visitors to private homes, including gardens, will be permitted from one other household only, and involve up to a maximum of 6 people.

• No organised indoor gatherings should take place, and outdoor gatherings should have a maximum of 15 people.

• Restaurants and cafes, including pubs serving food, will close to indoor dining but can remain open for takeaway and delivery. They can also remain open for outdoor dining for a maximum of 15 people. As already announced, wet bars will remain closed.

• Visits to long term residential care facilities are suspended, with the exception of critical and compassionate circumstances.

• Those living in Dublin are advised to stay within the county, unless they need to travel for work, education and other essential purposes.

• Similarly, people outside of Dublin are advised not to travel into the county except for work, education and other essential purposes.

• Sports training activities can continue, but only for non-contact sports in the outdoors and in pods of up to 15. There is an exception to this for professional and elite athletes, inter county sports and senior club championship.

• Indoor training should be confined to individuals only and no classes should take place.

• No social or family gatherings should take place other than weddings and funerals, but the number of people at both should be restricted to 25 from Monday. Weddings due to take place this weekend may go ahead under level 2 restrictions and people are reminded to follow public health guidelines.

Many will be upset at what we have to do, but please be assured that all of these restrictions are based on the recommendations of the leading medical experts working in our country, in order to save lives and protect health.

There has been some criticism about the decision to pause indoor dining in restaurants and gastropubs for the next three weeks. People reasonably ask why?

It is a very fair question.

The fact is that while we are seeing a lot of cases spreading in people’s homes, the initial infection is taking place outside the home and in the community.

We need to keep the disease out of people’s homes in the first place.

Our decision to act now on indoor dining is not any reflection on business owners who have done everything that was asked of them.

We are doing this because we want to minimise the number of places where people can congregate and where the disease can spread for the next three weeks.

Everything we do is based on the evidence of our medical experts.

Along with these decisions we will implement extra business supports.

We will immediately invest €30 million in a top-up to the Restart Plus grant for Dublin businesses. This will be open to all businesses affected by these measures including those that have already availed of the original grant.

The Government has also agreed an additional €5 million package to support those affected in the arts, culture, sports and tourism sectors in Dublin.

Later this evening, my colleagues and I will explain the complete range of restrictions with stakeholders, political representatives from Dublin, and representatives of the news media. Full details will be available for every citizen on and published in the media.

We are in a very urgent situation. We need to act now and act decisively.

Everyone with the privilege of a public platform has a role to play to amplify this message.

We need to act now in common purpose and for the common good.

We owe it to our frontline workers who continue to put themselves at risk every day, and we owe it to the memory of all those taken by this virus.

Our objective is clear. We must reduce the spread of the disease, stabilise the situation nationally, and bring Dublin back into line with the rest of the country within the next three weeks. We did it before with Laois, Offaly and Kildare and we can do it again.

We are a resilient people.

As a nation, throughout our history, we have come through every manner of trial and hardship.

And this too will pass.

The great responsibility that rests on each and every one of our shoulders is to do everything we can to make sure that when it does pass, we have brought as many of our families, friends and neighbours with us,

alive and in good health,

to enjoy the better and brighter days that lie ahead.

Go raibh maith agaibh.

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