Ireland is heading to Level 5 Covid-19 restrictions, again. But what does it mean for sport and gyms?
With the rapid increase in Covid-19 cases in the run-in to Christmas and concerns over a new strain arriving from the UK, Level 5 restrictions will kick in from Christmas Eve and are likely to continue right through January.
Táiniste Leo Varadkar said Tuesday that “we need to operate on the basis that the restrictions will be in place” until the end of February or March, allowing time for vaccinations against Covid-19 to reach a critical mass.
The Covid-19 restrictions have always been with something added or removed from the Government’s original Living With Covid-19 plan, so what do the new Level 5 restrictions mean for sport and gyms?
Level 5 restrictions
This time out, under Level 5 restrictions due to come in to place on Christmas Eve for an undetermined period –
- Golf courses and tennis clubs/courts will stay open
- No training or matches should take place with exceptions for
- non-contact training in pods of up to 15 taking place outdoors
- professional, elite sports, horse racing, greyhound racing and certain equestrian events taking place outdoors, behind closed doors
- Any other training, for any other sport, should be individual training only
- No exercise classes permitted
- No dance classes permitted
- Gyms, leisure centres, swimming pools – previously closed under Level 5 restrictions – can remain open for individual training only
There had been repeated calls to keep gyms open across lower restriction levels, the sector employing an estimated 50,000 people in Ireland, largely for people’s physical and mental wellbeing.
The IRFU had previously released their plans for dealing with Covid-19 under Level 3 through 5.
In terms of all things GAA, there already won’t be any inter-county challenge games at senior level until at least the start of February, similarly with a return to training. That said, there is the small matter of the provincial minor hurling and football championships to wrap up in early January.
With a travel ban also in place between Ireland and the UK, several horses and jockeys have been ruled out of big races over the holiday season on both sides of the Irish sea.
You can see the full list of restrictions on all things sport, retail, travel, events and the rest at gov.ie/covid19.