DUBLIN, Ireland – The Irish government in a dramatic move is putting the entire country on full alert as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc.
Ireland will move to Risk Level 3 as of midnight on Tuesday with people encouraged to work from home, and all travel domestically and internationally banned – even travel from one county to another will be prohibited.
Dublin and Donegal have already been at Risk Level 3, however, all remaining counties will will now join them.
The government says the action is based on a review of the current public health advice and is in response to the deteriorating situation with the virus across the country. Whilst Irish people may consider the action drastic, the country’s chief health official Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer with the HSE told the government on Sunday it should go to Risk Level 5, meaning a complete lockdown.
Even under Risk Level 3 all restaurants, pubs, taverns and cafes will close for all trading except deliveries and outdoor dining to a maximum of 15 customers. Industry associations are saying the crackdown on their sector alone could cost 400,000 jobs.
All counties will be at Risk Level 3 for a period of three weeks until midnight on 27th October 2020, after which the government, will review the situation, ‘based on the status of the virus and public health advice.’
A total of 1,810 people have died from the virus in Ireland
As of midnight Saturday 3, the HPSC said there is now a total of 38,032 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ireland.
Placing all counties at Level 3 has the following implications:
- Visitors to private homes and gardens should be limited to a maximum number of 6 from one other household.
- No social/family gatherings should take place, with exemptions to this for weddings and funerals.
- No organised indoor gatherings should take place. Organised outdoor gatherings are permitted, up to a maximum of 15 people.
- People should remain in their county (i.e. they must not leave to travel either domestically or internationally), with the exception of those who must travel for work, education and other essential purposes.
- People are asked to work from home unless absolutely necessary.
- Schools, Early Learning and Childcare services should remain open. Adult and Higher Education Institutions should remain open, but are asked to review protective measures and take steps to limit congregation as much as possible.
- You are asked to walk or cycle where possible so that public transport is available for use by essential workers and for essential work only.
- No matches or other sporting events should take place, with the exception of professional, elite, inter county and senior club championship all to take place behind closed doors.
- Horse racing may continue, but behind closed doors.
- Non-contact training activities can continue in the outdoors and in pods of up to 15, with certain exemptions.
- Indoor training should be confined to individuals only and no classes are to take place.
Business and Services
- All retail shops and shopping centres may remain open. All services such as hairdressers, beauticians, barbers, opticians etc. may remain open with strict adherence to sectoral guidance on protective measures.
- All outdoor playgrounds, play areas, parks remain open.
- Gyms/leisure centres, swimming pools may remain open for individual use only and with protective measures.
- Hotels, Guesthouses and B&Bs may remain open, but with services limited to residents.
- Restaurants and Cafes (including bars/pubs serving food/wet pubs) may remain open for take-away and delivery and outdoor dining/service to an absolute maximum of 15 people. Wet pubs in Dublin remain closed.
- Libraries will be available for e-services and call and collect.
- All indoor museums, galleries, cinemas and other cultural attractions should close.
- Religious services will move online, though places of worship may remain open for private prayer.
Over 70s & Medically Vulnerable
- Those aged over 70 and the medically vulnerable are advised to continue to exercise personal judgement.
- It is recommended that they stay at home as much as possible, limit engagement to a very small network for short periods of time, while remaining physically distanced.
- When taking exercise outdoors, it is important to maintain 2 metres distance from others and wash hands on returning home.
- It is recommended to shop during designated hours only, while wearing a face covering, and to avoid public transport.
“We understand that these restrictions will have a significant impact on businesses and employment around the country. In recognition of the impact of these restrictions on businesses a 30% top-up to the Restart Plus grant will be provided to help support those affected through the three-week period,” a government statement issued Tuesday said. “Businesses who have previously benefited from the Restart Grant will be eligible to re-apply for this top-up. This is in addition to the wide range of existing loan and voucher schemes available to assist businesses affected by Covid-19 provided through the July Jobs Stimulus and other Government initiatives.”
“Other employment and income supports, including the Pandemic Unemployment Payment and Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme, as well as the full range of employment, training and support services for affected workers, will also continue to be made available,” the government statement said. “The final cost will depend on numbers of additional claimants.”