The Government has announced its plan to cope with COVID-19 over the next six months, which includes a new framework with five different levels of response to different levels of threat.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the plan, called Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021, was not only about living with the virus, but also about working to renew our economic, social and cultural life.
The whole of Ireland is now pegged at level two, but there will be extra measures for Dublin in response to what the Government has called a “worrying” increase in cases.
The Taoiseach confirmed, however, that Dublin is not at level three at the moment.
€600m health package
Pubs that do not serve food will open in all counties except Dublin on 21 September, while visitors from only one household will be allowed to homes in Dublin.
A €600m winter package to develop and protect the health services through to next March has also been agreed.
The Government has also agreed that the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) will be open to new entrants until the end of the year.
On travel, the Taoiseach said Ireland would “broadly support” the European Commission’s proposals for a colour-coded system for travel to various countries, though this is not expected to be agreed until mid-October.
Health minister Stephen Donnelly later told RTÉ that the Department of Foreign Affairs would, in the meantime, be updating the 'green list' of countries exempt from restrictions.
Limited crowds – up to 200 – will be able to attend sporting events under certain conditions, while the plan also allows access to cultural events such as theatres and cinemas in small, controlled settings. Specific guidance is to be further developed for bigger venues such as stadiums.
Under revised decision-making procedures, NPHET will remain the key body in providing public health advice to the Government, but a new group will coordinate proposals for implementing this advice.
Cabinet restricting movements
It later emerged that health minister Stephen Donnelly felt unwell this afternoon and contacted his GP for a COVID-19 test.
As a result, members of the Cabinet are restricting their movements and the Dáil was adjourned.