Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath said that the government guidelines coming into effect tonight on household visits is not a “ban”.
There have been a lot of enquiries about the house ban visit. We are trying to limit house visits but it’s not a ban per say,” he said on RTÉ’s Prime Time.
The Minister explained that people can visit other homes for necessary circumstances- including visiting a lonely friend or relative.
“We are trying to cut out unnecessary bans. If someone is isolated, if someone is vulnerable, or if someone needs childcare that is fine. It’s not a ban,” he added.
“We are asking people to exercise common sense and to exercise judgment. We are trying to reduce the number of people that we are all visiting.”
Speaking about the household ban due to come into effect at midnight tonight, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said that following health guidelines “has its consequences”.
“As you make more demanding changes from public health guidelines it has consequences,” he said on Virgin Media One’s The Tonight Show.
“For the 400,000 citizens who are living alone the reduction in social contact is hard …this has consequences too.
“Our government is looking at many different things. We do want to look at what options we have but now our focus is making level 3 and the guidance of yesterday work.”
It was announced on Wednesday that Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal will go into Level 4 restrictions at midnight tonight while there is a nationwide ban on household visits.
Up until tonight counties placed in a Level 3 restriction were allowed one visitor to their home or up to six visitors if from the same household.
These restrictions come into place after the highest daily Covid-19 cases in the Republic of Ireland were confirmed with 1,205 being infected.
There were also three further deaths.
A Level 4 means a ban on household visits, weddings reduced to six people and the closures of hairdressers and barbers.
Pubs and restaurants will only be permitted to give delivery and takeaway service.
Speaking on the new measures, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said: “We are on a journey with this virus and we have come to a difficult point in that journey. For that reason, we have agreed to move Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan to Level Four on the Living With Covid-19 Framework.”
“A new Level Three status has been with us for the last week, and we want another week to analyse the effects of these measures.
“The truth is there are concerns about the full implementation of Level Three. These concerns are in relation to the poor application or adherence to advice when it comes to home visiting, sports training and events, people going into work when they could and should work from home, as well as slippage in retail and other services.”