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19th Oct 2020

Level 4 versus Level 5: What are the differences in restrictions we could be facing?

New restrictions will be announced for the entire country today.

The cabinet are meeting today to make a final decision on new restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19 across the country. On Thursday, the National Public Heath Emergency Team (NPHET) recommended the entire country move to Level 5.

Despite the recommendations, RTÉ News reports that the new restrictions will be comprised of elements from both Level 4 and Level 5. The Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris confirmed yesterday that tighter restrictions would be introduced for the country today. Speaking on yesterday’s RTÉ’s This Week in Politics, he said: “I want people to know that the government will act tomorrow. The action will be decisive”.

So, what can we expect from the new restrictions?

There are some small differences between Level 4 and Level 5 but these differences could have major impacts on businesses and individuals across the country, here’s a look at what could be in store:

Social and family gatherings 

  • No visitors to your home under Level 4 or Level 5
  • No social gatherings in other settings under Level 4 or Level 5


  • Schools and creches will remain open under Level 4 with protective measures in place
  • Higher education will be primarily online in Level 4 as they are now
  • If we move to Level 5 the recommendations will change based on the situation at the time

Sport and exercise 

  • In Level 4, outdoor non-contact training in pods of 15 is allowed
  • Indoor training in Level 4 is permitted only for individuals, no classes
  • In Level 5, individual training only, no classes
  • Matches and events in Level 5 will remain as Level 4
  • Swimming pools and gyms will close in Level 5


  • In Level 4, essential retail and outdoor business remain open, all other retail and personal services closed like hairdressers, barbers and beauticians
  • In Level 5, essential retail only such as supermarkets and pharmacies

Pubs and restaurants 

  • Restaurants and wet pubs will remain open in Level 4 with outdoor seating and max of 15 people
  • In Level 5 all pubs and restaurants will close, only take away food and delivery would remain

Weddings and funerals 

  • In Level 4, weddings can proceed with 6 guests, guests cannot leave their county to attend
  • In Level 4, there’s a max of 25 mourners allowed at funerals
  • In Level 5, weddings remain the same but only 10 mourners are permitted at funerals


  • People should stay in their county in Level 4 aside from essential travel due to work, education or other compassionate grounds
  • People should stay at home in Level 5 with exercise permitted within 5km of their home