Updated: 18/09/20 4.45pm
Cabinet has accepted the full advice of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) to move Dublin to Level Three of its Living with Covid-19 plan, with additional restrictions on pubs and restaurants.
A full announcement of the new restrictions for the capital is expected from Government later this evening.
In addition to these restrictions set out as part of Level Three, NPHET has advised that pubs serving food and restaurants only remain open in Dublin if they have outdoor dining facilities or takeaway services, with indoor dining banned.
The priority under Level Three is to keep schools, early learning and childcare services open and to minimise disruption in the workforce. A number of services will be moved online and some businesses will be closed, such as museums and other indoor cultural venues.
Dubliners are asked to reduce the number of people they meet to a minimum and to not travel outside of the region.
On Wednesday evening, NPHET first recommended to Government that it move Dublin to Level Three to curb the spread of the virus there.
A meeting of senior officials took place yesterday evening to discuss the implementation of the new restrictions and reported to a meeting of the Cabinet committee on Covid-19 chaired by Taoiseach Micheál Martin scheduled for this morning. The measures were then put to a full Cabinet meeting shortly afterwards.
The recommendation comes after NPHET held its weekly meeting on Thursday to discuss the spread of the virus around the country and to formulate “key recommendations” for Government.
It comes as the Government has come under scrutiny for deciding to place the capital on Level Two of its plan with the remainder of the county, as Dublin is experiencing an incidence rate of the virus twice the national average.
On Wednesday, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said there is a “strong” and a “very real possibility” that Dublin will move to Level Three.
Additional measures are already in place in the capital to curb the spread of the virus, including increased restrictions on gatherings between households and “wet pubs” remaining closed.
Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath also said on Wednesday that although there has not been an instruction for the public not to visit Dublin, if people did not need to travel to the capital they should not do so.
It was announced yesterday evening that there has been one new death and a further 240 cases of Covid-19 confirmed in the State, with about 50 per cent or 119 of the cases located in Dublin.
The day before, three new deaths and 254 new cases of the virus were confirmed, with 136 of the cases located in Dublin.
Updates were provided by health officials concerning the growth rate of the virus, with projections of 1,000 cases per day by October 16th if transmission remains uninterrupted, with 50 to 60 per cent of these cases in Dublin.
Dr Ronan Glynn, Acting Chief Medical Officer said that “things have gotten worse than when NPHET last met on Friday” when asked about his letter to Government of last week in which he described Dublin as a “disease reservoir”.
Dublin now has a 14 day incidence rate of 109.6 cases of the virus per 100,000, which is twice the national average, according to figures from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HSPC).