Taoiseach Micheál Martin has announced that Ireland will be ending its nationwide lockdown and transitioning back into Level 3 restrictions come December 1st.

Speaking to reporters at Dublin Port, Martin stated; “Our aim has always been to exit level 5 onto level 3 on December 1, that is our aim and our objective and that would allow non-essential retail to open up and to give something in advance of Christmas to them.

The Irish people have made a lot of sacrifices; this level 5 has been very difficult. We understand that, but the good news is, what you’re doing is working”.

Further information on lifting restrictions is expected later in the week after the National Public Health Emergency Team’s advice has been taken into consideration by the Government. The country is expected to reopen in two phases, ahead of the holiday season. The strategy for vaccine distribution formulated by the Government’s vaccine task force is also expected by December 11th. 

While, level 5 restrictions circumscribed residents within a 5km radius, level 3 restrictions will allow residents to travel between counties. Under level 3, leaving the country for non-essential purposes will be curbed.

Dr Holohan advised non-resident Irish people against travelling back home for the holidays. “Travel that would normally happen at Christmas would have to be regarded as non-essential this Christmas,” said Dr Holohan. Even though it is highly unlikely that international students will be able to fly back home for Christmas, relieving Level 5 restrictions may incur pragmatic changes for UCD students.

In a recent statement, UCD permitted the completion of the spring trimester online, even if the University decides to return to a former arrangement later on in the term. Level 3 restrictions may also allow for a more involved community. This might result in societies holding socially distanced events on-campus and possible increases in the number of students being able to study within on-campus libraries. 

Vanshika Dhyani – Reporter