Government Support Plan to-morrow

The Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath has said that changes to the supports for businesses affected by Covid-19 will be announced by to-morrow (Tuesday) at the latest.

Speaking on RTÉ's This Week programme, Mr McGrath said that the Cabinet will meet on Tuesday and if a further meeting is required over Christmas that will be arranged.

Mr McGrath noted the Government has committed to the enhanced rates of the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) and are looking at changes to the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS).

The scheme was initially designed to support businesses that had been closed, but Mr McGrath said businesses are now in a different space where trading hours are affected.

Latest restrictions aimed at stemming the spread of the Omicron Covid-19 variant in Ireland come into effect today.

The measures will see earlier closing times imposed on the hospitality sector from this evening, as well as changes to requirements for people deemed a close contact of a Covid-19 case.

Micheál Martin said they will help the country get to the other side of the current wave as safely as possible.

From 8pm this evening, all restaurants, bars and cafés, excluding takeaway or delivery services, will be required to shut their doors.

Indoor events scheduled earlier in the day should limit attendance to 50% of capacity or 1,000 people, whichever is lower.

Outdoor events will also be limited to half capacity, to a maximum of 5,000 people.

Wedding receptions can take place after 8pm, but with a capacity limit of 100 guests. Religious services are exempt from the restrictions.

Enhanced measures also come into play for people deemed close contacts, with those yet to receive a booster vaccine having to restrict their movements for ten days.

Those who are one week since their booster face restricting their movements for five days, and are to take three antigen tests.

The measures aimed at curbing the spread of the Omicron variant, which is now the most dominant strain in Ireland, will remain in place until 30 January.

However, the Government says this will be kept under review.